Amid a major student loan debt crisis in the U.S., a new report by the Texas Public Policy Foundation found that some degrees cost tens of thousands of dollars more than others.
The report — which uses new data released by the Department of Education (ED)’s College Scorecard to examine typical college debt by credential and program — contributes to a burgeoning trend of transparency that’s aimed at scrutinizing the cost of tuition generally.
The analysis “is really quite revolutionary because up until now, everything had just been institution level,” Andrew Gillen, senior policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, told Yahoo Finance.
Rather than generalize how much student loan debt one would take out if they go to a college, Gillen noted, students can extrapolate how much their intended major would set them back, which is “helpful.”
Gillen said he hoped that the report will help students and parents make more informed decisions and prompt policymakers to take a closer look at whether these programs provide a good return on students’ investment.
Ultimately, he wants there to be more of an understanding in government “about what they’re funding in higher education and why [degree-specific information] would really benefit the higher education landscape.”
The most and least expensive degrees
Overall, graduates with associate’s degrees borrowed an average of $14,000, as compared to bachelor’s degree grads who borrowed $23,000.
Then there are master’s degrees, of which the costs have been a large focus of the conversation around the price of higher education in recent months. Master’s degree holders borrowed a median of $40,000, according to the data, while professional degree recipients took out a median of $144,000 while doctoral degree graduates borrowed a median of $73,000, according to the data.