Paul L. Caron

Thursday, December 23, 2021

WSJ: NYU Is Top-Ranked—In Loans That Alumni And Parents Struggle To Repay

Wall Street Journal, NYU Is Top-Ranked—In Loans That Alumni and Parents Struggle to Repay:

NYU (2021)By many measures, [NYU] is the worst or among the worst schools for leaving families and graduate students drowning in debt. Many of its graduate-school alumni earn low salaries, despite their expensive degrees.

At its core, the debt burden among NYU graduates ... stems from federal Plus loan programs. A number of prestigious private universities point families to the Grad Plus and Parent Plus programs to bridge the gap between high prices and meager scholarships.

NYU parents and graduate students collectively borrowed $3.4 billion in federal Plus loans over the past decade, more than at any other university in the U.S., public or private, a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal Education Department data found.

Among the Journal’s findings: ...

  • For NYU’s graduate students, the university’s advanced degrees often don’t pay off. In 40 out of 49 programs, NYU graduate students who took out federal loans borrowed more than they earned two years out of school. By that measure, NYU had more graduate programs with high debt loads than any other U.S. university with published data. The debt and earnings figures are medians for 2015 and 2016 graduates, the most recent data from the Education Department.
  • Many NYU programs were the worst by that calculation. In 15 graduate programs—including music, international relations and education—NYU ranked highest among U.S. universities with published data in terms of debt loads compared with early-career earnings.


NYU spokesman John Beckman said those numbers don’t reflect progress the school has made since its current president took the helm in 2016 and emphasized affordability initiatives.

The Education Department doesn’t publish data on programs with a small number of graduates. Mr. Beckman said that because NYU has so many large programs, more of its figures are made public and the data put the school “in a disproportionately disadvantageous light.” He also said NYU receives so much Plus money in part because its total enrollment is among the largest in the country, at around 52,000 students.

NYU says it has tried to put its costs more within reach. ...

A Wall Street Journal investigation has detailed how some of the nation’s wealthiest schools rely on the easy money of Plus loans. Some have capitalized on their brand-name cachet to expand pricey graduate programs and increase tuition costs, turning the programs into cash cows while leaving students in low-paying fields to take on six-figure debt. Plus loans have become the fastest-growing segment of federal student debt and a particular burden on low-income families.

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