The first cohort of college students graduating from high school today are not students who have attended a single college.
They are the graduates of more than 20 colleges.
And in a stunning reversal of fortunes, many of these students are also the ones saddled with massive debt.
According to data released by the Department of Education, the number of graduating college students with $50,000 or more in debt grew by 50% from the year prior.
The percentage of students who had outstanding student loan debt grew to 34%.
The number of graduates with more than $150,000 in debt dropped to 16%, from 27%.
The data was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Axios.
While many graduates are still paying off their loans, it’s clear the debt burden is now much higher than it was at the beginning of the decade.
More than a third of graduates had outstanding loans, compared to about 15% at the end of the 2007-2009 recession.
According, the numbers come from a new report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which provides a breakdown of student loan and debt by race and ethnicity.
In general, white students are more likely to have outstanding loans than students of color.
The most common debt is for college tuition, with about 85% of white students with debt in that category, and about 77% of black students.
Among Hispanic students, nearly 80% had student loan balances of $100,000.
In contrast, students of other races are less likely to be saddled by debt.
The NCES report also found that the median amount owed by a graduating college student is $28,000, which is about half the amount students were paying in 2007.
However, this amount is still more than the average of $31,000 that graduates are currently paying on average, according to the report.