Student loan debt remains sky high, at $27,975, about half the average first year salary of a newly-minted college grad, according to the first comprehensive study of the Class of 2016.

The LendEDU report found that those carrying debt grew slightly for the class, the latest proof that students continue to go into debt to get their pigskin. The report said that 59.78 percent of the class have school loan debt.

The report includes an interactive map to check state debt statistics.

LendEDU looked at all colleges and states to figure out where the debt was the highest and lowest. Pennsylvania came with the highest average debt per borrower at $35,185. Utah was ranked #51 with the lowest average debt per borrower at $18,810.

Students graduating from Indiana's Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology had the highest average debt per borrower at $59,113. Newman University of Kansas had lowest average debt per borrower at $3,809.

The key findings from the survey provided to Secrets:

  • At non-profit 4-year public and private colleges in 2016, 59.78% of graduates had student loan debt. This is slightly up from 59.63% of graduates with student loan debt in 2015.
  • In the Class of 2016, the average debt per borrower was $27,975. This is down by 1.50% from the Class of 2015 where the average debt per borrower was $28,400.
  • On an overall basis, the average graduate in the Class of 2016 had $16,723 in student debt.* This is down by 1.25% from the Class of 2015 where the average debt per graduate was $16,935.
  • In the Class of 2016, private institutions gave average borrowers $30,281 (62% of grads were borrowers) in student debt, whereas public institutions gave average borrowers $26,828 in student debt (58% of grads were borrowers).
  • On the school level basis in the Class of 2016, the average student debt per borrower ranged from a low of $3,809 at Newman University (Kansas) to a high of $59,113 at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Indiana). Last year, on the school level basis for the Class of 2015, the average student debt per borrower ranged from a low of $3,000 to a high of $86,262.
  • On the state level basis in the Class of 2016, the average student debt per borrower ranged from a low of $18,810 in Utah to a high of $35,185 in Pennsylvania. Last year, on the school level basis for the Class of 2015, the average student debt per borrower ranged from a low of $18,772 in Utah to a high of $36,864 in Connecticut.
  • In the Class of 2016, of the 250 colleges with the highest amount of student loan debt per borrower, 80% of the institutions were private.
  • In the Class of 2016, of the 250 colleges with the lowest amount of student loan debt per borrower, 47% of the institutions were public.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com