Low debt burden may be due to students with jobs

U.S. News & World Report ranked UH among the nation's top 10 universities whose 1997 graduates carried the lightest debt load.

According to the report, 65 percent of UH's 1997 graduates had an average debt of $9,333. This included loans taken from colleges, financial institutions, and federal, state and local governments.

Rob Sheridan, director of scholarships and financial aid, attributed the light debt to the fact that 65 to 70 percent of UH students work during the school semester.

"UH students are fortunate to have such a dynamic job market (as Houston's)," Sheridan said. "UH students have an advantage over traditional schools like (The University of Texas), whose students do not have as many opportunities to work while they go to school."

Earning money from work could mean borrowing less, and borrowing less yields happier graduates, such as Steven Devadanam, a 1998 UH grad.

Devadanam got a school loan to pay off a credit card debt for tuition and school expenses and said that he came out ahead.

"I have had several friends that graduated from other universities with debts considerably higher than mine," he said.

With regard to debt regionally, UH's 1997 graduates' debt load was less than that of Louisiana Tech University and UT graduates.

Nationally, UH graduates also had less debt than those from Brown University, Florida State University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of San Diego.

However, tuition is also less at UH than at most of those schools.

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