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Clark AU Responds to U.S. News Report on Student Indebtedness

University acknowledges data accuracy but points to unique mission of educating a student body with a high loan rate and 40 percent first generation to attend college.

Clark Atlanta University officials on Tuesday responded to a Jan. 3 U.S. News & World Report article listing the university as one of the nation's 10 schools with the most 2010 graduate debt.

The report states that 93 percent of Clark Atlanta students in 2010 borrowed money for their college education and that amount averaged to $45,227 per student. Clark was the only Georgia college and only HBCU on the list.

Donna Brock, a spokeswoman for the historic near west side Atlanta university, issued a response Tuesday that acknowledges the accuracy of the report and details the challenges facing many of today's college students—at Clark and across the country.

"Clark Atlanta's missioncenters upon providing a high-­‐quality, research-­‐intensive, technology-­‐rich education to students hailing primarily from historically disenfranchised populations," Brock said in a statement to Cascade Patch (see attached PDF). "While the University last year staved off tuition increases and continues to make every effort to offset the cost of higher education with campus jobs, scholarships and grants—funding for which also is constricted in this economy—the fact remains that many of our students require additional assistance to bridge gaps that their families, scholarships and grants cannot."

Data collected via U.S. News' annual Best Colleges survey show that, among the 1,009 ranked schools that reported undergraduate student debt figures, 2010 graduates who borrowed funds averaged nearly $25,000 in debt, the story reported. This figure does not include parent loans.

U.S. News defines debt in its survey as loans taken out by students from the colleges themselves, from financial institutions, and from federal, state, and local governments. U.S. News also collects data on the percentage of graduates who borrow.

According to U.S. News, among the 1,028 ranked institutions that submitted this data for 2010 graduates, an average of nearly 68 percent of students took out loans.

Donna Brock January 11, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Thank you for affording the opportunity to put this situation in context. Just wanted to add that CAU has one of the lowest tuitions among private colleges in Georgia and that, while the amount of debt assumed by any student is based solely upon his or her circumstances and personal choice, the University continues to assist students through approaches detailed in the attached statement.

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