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Pennsylvania's Student Debt 2nd In Nation, Study Says

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Bad news for college kids: A new study from the Institute for College Access and Success has revealed that two-thirds of graduates last year finished school with debt.

The average is nearly $27,000 each. That's a five percent rise from the previous year, according to the study.

Of the colleges surveyed, the unemployment rate for 2011 graduates sits at 8.8 percent, a slight drop from 2010's record of 9.1 percent.

State averages for debt at graduation in 2011 ranged from $17,250 to $32,450.

Pennsylvania had the second-highest average debt at $29,950, behind only New Hampshire.

New Jersey came in at No. 10 with average debt of $27,610. (Delaware wasn't ranked due to a small data sample size.)

The high-debt states remain concentrated in the Northeast and Midwest, with low-debt states mainly in the West and South, according to the study. Utah and Hawaii had the lowest average debts.

The institute is calling on the government to collect and disseminate this data from all schools that receive federal funding.

"Voluntarily reported data is all that we've got to shed light on how debt at graduation varies from school to school and year to year. Students need reliable information for all schools, and colleges that consistently and accurately provide their own debt figures deserve a level playing field," said the report's primary author Matthew Reed. "Twelve percent of the colleges that reported debt data for 2010 didn't report for 2011, and virtually no for-profit colleges reported at all. The need for federal collection of key debt information at all colleges could not be more clear. "

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