Cameron University has been recognized as one of the best colleges in the country for minimizing student loan debt, ranking third among schools in Oklahoma, 44th among public colleges and universities nationwide, and 108th among all private and public institutions. The ranking was compiled by the Student Loan Report in its “Student Loan Debt per Graduate by School by State” report for the Class of 2015. The ranking also indicates that only 43 percent of CU students graduate with debt, considerably less than the state average of 58 percent.
The report shows that the average debt load per student at Cameron University is $9,533.10, which is approximately 25 percent less than the average debt load per student in Oklahoma and almost 44 percent less than the average debt load per student among all institutions surveyed nationwide.
“Student debt is an unpleasant, yet sometimes unavoidable topic,” says Jon Horinek, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success. “At Cameron University, we strive to keep student debt to a minimum by offering tuition waivers, financial assistance – including scholarships and grants – and part-time employment on campus to our students. While we are appreciative of this recognition, inadequate state funding continues to make it more difficult for us to maintain our commitment to affordability and low student debt."
Although Cameron University has the second-lowest cost of attendance in Oklahoma, the university took dramatic and painful steps to cope with a 16-percent cut in state appropriations last fiscal year. As a result, the institution had no choice but to implement a modest increase in tuition to bridge the gap.
“Our state’s pattern of continuing disinvestment in higher education directly impacts students, our economy, and our future growth.” says Horinek. “We work hard every day to keep costs down and we would love to see more students graduate debt-free. However, without adequate state funding, we have to make difficult choices.”
The ranking was compiled using Peterson's Class of 2015 dataset to analyze more than 1,200 schools. Only four-year institutions and those that reported from 2013 to 2016 were used. To rank the states, Student Loan Report weighted each school based on the number of graduates. For example, a university with a higher number of graduates has more influence on the state's average debt per graduate than a small one.
The average student loan debt per graduate includes loans taken out through any student loan lender, including both the government and private lenders. If a student transferred into a school with student loan debt, they were not included in the results. Students who did not graduate, or those who did not graduate with a bachelor's degree, were not included.
November 10, 2016