Debt: Doctoral Degree Recipients

Nearly half of doctoral students borrowed to finance their education (47.7 percent). The average debt level among borrowers was $81,176, with the highest debt levels occurring for Black and Hispanic borrowers. The shares of Black and Hispanic doctoral degree recipients who borrowed for their graduate study, 80.6 and 72.3 percent, respectively, were far higher than the shares of White doctoral degree recipients, 55.7 percent.

Borrowing Rates Among Doctoral Degree Recipients, by Race and Ethnicity: 2015-16
Cumulative Debt for Graduate Study: Doctoral Degree Recipients, by Race and Ethnicity: 2015-16


U.S. Department of Education, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, 2016

Estimate suppressed for American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and students of more than one race due to small sample size.

Estimate for borrowing rates among Asian doctoral degree recipients should be interpreted with caution. Ratio of standard error is > 50 percent.

Estimate suppressed for Asian students’ cumulative debt for graduate study. Reporting standards not met.

Cumulative debt of doctoral degree recipients shows the average amount borrowed per borrower.