One in four former students with college loans today can’t pay them, which serves as another signal that higher education is not the guarantee of economic success it once was. A bachelor’s degree still boosts a person’s pay by 84 percent over a lifetime, compared to a high school diploma. But 65 percent of graduates of Missouri colleges leave school with debt, and the average graduate of a Show-Me State school has $23,229 worth of debt by graduation.
For-profit schools in the state have particularly high default rates. For instance, 31 percent of students at Everest College in Missouri can’t pay off their loans three years after leaving school. Default rates at Sanford-Brown College and Vatterott College are 27 and 26 percent, respectively.
By contrast, the default rate is 12 percent at St. Louis Community College and 7.5 percent at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.