The Center for State and Local Finance at Georgia State University recently issued a report on trends in Georgians’ student loan debt, and the results aren’t pretty. 33% of 25-year-old Georgians now hold student loan debt, more than triple the amount of Georgians in 1999. This number has previously been about 5-6% lower than the national average, but the gap has grown smaller in the past two years while HOPE recipients and awards have declined (as the cost of attending USG schools rises dramatically).
Of the 25-year-olds with student debt, the average amount owed has also grown dramatically from $8,149 in 1999 to just over $25,000 in 2013 – right at the national average. Interestingly, four-year college graduates in Georgia hold over $3,000 less in student loan debt than the national average – which the report notes could be due to college completion rates, for-profit colleges not being included in the four-year college graduate data, and that graduates are more likely to have received the HOPE Scholarship.
Post-recession, this student loan debt appears to be holding back the Georgia market for homes and vehicles. Before the recession, more Georgians with student loan debt took out auto loans and mortgages than the national average. During the recovery, however, the proportion of Georgians with student loan debt buying houses and cars has dipped below our nation as a whole.