Greenlee School student debt falls


Greenlee School average student debt—at record lows for Advertising students with decreasing debt for Journalism and Public Relations majors—has fallen to an average $26,200 compared to the University’s $27,563, latest data show.

Advertising students had an average debt of $24,226, dropping from a high of $34,095 in 2012-13. Journalism students’ debt has fallen below the $30,000 mark at $27,588. Public Relations, established in 2013, fell in the past academic year to $26,751.

Rising tuition has affected out-of-state students especially. However, the good news is that average debt for Greenlee’s Iowa students has decreased significantly from 2014-15 levels. The biggest drop was -25% to $22,690 for in-state Advertising students. Journalism’s average student debt fell -10.5% to $26,198. Public Relations students saw a -2.5% drop to $23,903.

Average debt for in-state Iowa State students, all undergraduate majors, rose about 2% from $25,835 to $26,371. Average debt for Greenlee in-state students (all three majors) fell 15.6% from $28,843 to $24,328.

However, the percentage of Greenlee students with debt rose slightly in the past academic year from 66.4% to 67.6%. The University’s percentage dropped slightly from 65.6% to 62.3%.

Michael Bugeja, director, said the average debt for Greenlee students is still too high, especially for Journalism students. “The threshold should be below $25,000, which we have achieved overall,” he said, noting that the average student debt for the class of 2015 rose 4% to $30,100 nationally. For the state of Iowa, average debt was $29,732, or 8th highest in the nation.

Bugeja thanked donors for scholarship and internship support to help defray debt. Last year the School gave more than $210,000 in scholarships.

The Greenlee School requires every major to complete four-year graduation plans to reduce debt and emphasizes placement so graduates can secure employment to offset expenses. Placement, within six months of commencement, has ranged from 95% to 100% since 2011. New data show 1 in 10 Greenlee majors graduates in three years and 7 in 10 in four years.

For more information, visit the School’s Public Accountability website.