Washington Nearly two of every three undergraduate students are going into debt to go to college, owing an average of more than $19,000, most often to the government.
Among a dozen states sampled, New York students averaged the largest loans, while those in Oregon and Minnesota were most likely to have taken out loans. Kansas wasn't among the states studied.
About 65 percent of students who graduated in the 2003-2004 school year did so after getting student loans, according to the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics.
For students who took out loans, the average debt was $19,202. Of that sum, $17,022 came through federal loan programs.
The agency focused on 12 large, medium, and mid-sized states, but did not compile enough data from the other 38 states to create reliable statewide averages.
State dollars "are covering less and less of the cost of higher education, and we've had several years of double-digit tuition increases," said Melinda Voss, spokeswoman for the Minnesota state college and university system.
The overall amount of student loan debt soared in the mid-1990s but has been relatively flat in recent years.