Colleges With Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2018
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10 Best College Values With the Lowest Average Graduating Debt

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For over a decade, the rising cost of college has forced many families to take out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. In 2016, the average student borrower at a four-year private college graduated with $32,000 in debt, while those attending public colleges borrowed an average of $27,000. Paying off those loans could take years.

But not all schools saddle their alumni with a financial burden. Of the 300 schools on our list of best college values, these 10 schools were most successful at getting their students out the door with the lowest average debt by graduation.

SEE ALSO: Find the Best College for You

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Colleges With Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2018 | Slide 2 of 11

1. Berea College

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Location: Berea, Ky.

Average debt at graduation: $7,062

Kiplinger's combined rank: #95 (#49 among liberal arts colleges)

Undergraduate enrollment: 1,665

Total annual cost: $7,234

Students who borrow: 65%

Berea's low tuition may appeal to prospective students looking for an affordable education, but the college admits only those with limited economic resources. In keeping with the school's no-tuition promise, students are awarded nearly $100,000 over the course of four years, not including additional financial aid for housing and other living expenses.

Established in 1855 by abolitionists and radical reformers, Berea is one of seven federally recognized work colleges in the nation. While students may not incur the financial costs of attendance, they are required to work on campus between 10 and 15 hours a week.

SEE ALSO: 10 Great Colleges That Won't Make Students Take Loans

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Colleges With Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2018 | Slide 3 of 11

2. Baruch College of the City University of New York (CUNY)

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Location: New York, N.Y.

Average debt at graduation: $7,915

Kiplinger's combined rank: #122 (#44 among public colleges)

Undergraduate enrollment: 15,210

Total annual out-of-state cost: $39,395 ($25,525 in-state)

Students who borrow: 30%

Baruch College, conveniently located in New York City's Manhattan borough, encourages students to take advantage of internship and career opportunities on Wall Street and at the global headquarters of nearby companies.

The school attracts an ethnically diverse pool of students from around the world. Undergraduates may choose from 37 different majors offered through the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, Zicklin School of Business and Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. About 56% of students are awarded need-based financial aid.

SEE ALSO: 10 Best College Values, 2018

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Colleges With Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2018 | Slide 4 of 11

3. Princeton University

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Location: Princeton, N.J.

Average debt at graduation: $8,908

Kiplinger's combined rank: #1 (#1 among private colleges)

Undergraduate enrollment: 5,400

Total annual cost: $61,140

Students who borrow: 18%

The high price tag to attend Princeton University doesn't reflect the reduced amount many of its students end up paying. Since 2001, this Ivy League institution's financial aid policy has been recognized as one of the most generous funding programs in the country. The school became the first four-year undergraduate institution to offer no-loan financial aid packages, allowing students to graduate debt-free.

As part of an ongoing effort to draw a diverse pool of undergraduates, all qualified students are encouraged to apply for admission to Princeton. Of Princeton's admitted students, 98% earned a score of 600 or higher on the math portion of the SAT.

SEE ALSO: Our Complete, Sortable Rankings of All 300 Schools

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Colleges With Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2018 | Slide 5 of 11

4. University of North Georgia

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Location: Dahlonega, Ga.

Average debt at graduation: $10,062

Kiplinger's combined rank: #287 (#94 among public colleges)

Undergraduate enrollment: 17,704

Total annual out-of-state cost: $32,978 ($19,166 in-state)

Students who borrow: 46%

The University of North Georgia may not be the largest public university in the state of Georgia to make our best values list, but it's certainly the youngest. Established in January 2013, the university was created through the consolidation of two top-performing schools in the state's university system: North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College.

UNG's sticker price for out-of-state students falls well below the national average for out-of-state students at four-year institutions.

SEE ALSO: 10 Best Values in Public Colleges, 2018

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Colleges With Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2018 | Slide 6 of 11

5. Ramapo College of New Jersey

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Location: Mahwah, N.J.

Average debt at graduation: $11,275

Kiplinger's combined rank: #188 (#72 among public colleges)

Undergraduate enrollment: 5,762

Total annual out-of-state cost: $36,963 ($27,829 in-state)

Students who borrow: 49%

Ramapo College, a public liberal arts college located about 30 miles from downtown Manhattan, offers more than 539 course offerings and over 36 academic programs. With an admission rate of 53% and a student-faculty ratio of 18 to 1, Ramapo is an attractive pick for those in search of a less selective school that maintains a small campus community.

The annual sticker price for out-of-state students is above the national average for public four-year institutions, but nearly half of Ramapo's students receive need-based financial aid.

SEE ALSO: Our Complete, Sortable Rankings of 100 Liberal Arts Colleges

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Colleges With Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2018 | Slide 7 of 11

6. Haverford College

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Location: Haverford, Pa.

Average debt at graduation: $13,000

Kiplinger's combined rank: #31 (#17 among liberal arts colleges)

Undergraduate enrollment: 1,268

Total annual cost: $71,614

Students who borrow: 29%

This close-knit liberal arts college is located just eight miles from downtown Philadelphia on Pennsylvania's historic Main Line. Haverford's campus is home to 98% of its students and 61% of its faculty members.

The school attracts the nation's highest achievers, but only 21% of applicants are admitted. The average graduate's debt of $13,000 is well below the average of $32,000 for graduates of four-year private schools.

SEE ALSO: Kiplinger's Best College Values, 2018

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Colleges With Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2018 | Slide 8 of 11

7. Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY)

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Location: New York, N.Y.

Average debt at graduation: $13,000

Kiplinger's combined rank: #137 (#45 among public colleges)

Undergraduate enrollment: 16,723

Total annual out-of-state cost: $27,869 ($16,999 in-state)

Students who borrow: 71%

Located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Hunter College is the largest college in the City University of New York. It provides educational opportunities for a diverse student body from all over the world.

While nearly three-fourths of its students take out loans, the school's average graduating debt is less than half the national average for students who borrow at four-year public institutions.

SEE ALSO: How We Rank the Colleges

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Colleges With Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2018 | Slide 9 of 11

8. Wellesley College

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Location: Wellesley, Mass.

Average debt at graduation: $13,415

Kiplinger's combined rank: #10 (#5 among liberal arts colleges)

Undergraduate enrollment: 2,347

Total annual cost: $67,784

Students who borrow: 48%

For more than 100 years, this all-women's college has promoted what it calls the Wellesley Effect, which is designed to help women make meaningful and professional contributions to the world.

Wellesley does not offer merit-based aid, but the school awards qualifying students an average need-based-aid package of $45,178, cutting the sticker price by nearly two-thirds. Graduates' average debt is less than half the average for graduates of four-year private institutions.

SEE ALSO: Our Complete, Sortable Rankings of 100 Private Universities

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Colleges With Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2018 | Slide 10 of 11

9. Yale University

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Location: New Haven, Conn.

Average debt at graduation: $13,625

Kiplinger's combined rank: #13 (#7 among private colleges)

Undergraduate enrollment: 5,477

Total annual cost: $70,570

Students who borrow: 14%

Only 6% of applicants are accepted into Yale's multimillion-dollar cultural and scientific research community. And like its Ivy League counterparts, the college is committed to ensuring that all qualified students can afford a Yale education, regardless of their financial background.

Yale allocates need-based aid under a strict no-loan policy. The university meets 100% of financial need for qualifying students and maintains the lowest percentage of students who take out loans on this list.

SEE ALSO: Our Complete, Sortable Rankings of All 300 Schools

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Colleges With Lowest Average Graduating Debt, 2018 | Slide 11 of 11

10. Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY)

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Location: Queens, N.Y.

Average debt at graduation: $14,383

Kiplinger's combined rank: #245 (#77 among public colleges)

Undergraduate enrollment: 16,326

Total annual out-of-state cost: $34,724 ($23,854 in-state)

Students who borrow: 16%

Queens College's admission rate of 41% is the highest of any of the City University of New York schools on our list. The campus stretches across 80 tree-lined acres in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens. In the fall of 2009, the school opened its first residence hall, Summit Apartments, which houses approximately 500 students.

SEE ALSO: 10 Best College Majors for a Lucrative Career

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