How much students are borrowing for higher education is still creeping up—and the numbers that are coming in are probably conservative. The Institute for College Access and Success, a nonprofit, reported Tuesday that the average student loan debt for 2015 for those receiving a bachelor's degree was $30,100, a 4% increase over the previous year, per MarketWatch. But that's only examining debt from students who graduated from public or nonprofit private colleges or universities (the amount of money private-school attendees need to borrow is often more substantial). And because about 68% of graduates from these schools have taken on loans, Money.com notes that most students coming out of there will be burdened with monthly payments of $300 or more over the next decade.
So why has this uptick not started to trend downward yet? TICAS VP Debbie Cochrane says lack of investment from individual states can claim much of the blame. "States need to increase their per-student level of support for public colleges," she says, per MarketWatch. The states riddled with the highest debt tend to fall in the Northeast and Midwest, while states in the West experience the lowest levels, notes Inside Higher Ed. A financial expert offers tips via Business Insider on how to deal with such debt if you're mired in it. (A mom was told she had to pay off her murdered son's student loans.)