The average student loan borrower who graduated from a New Jersey college in 2019 left with more than $31,000 to repay for their education, according to an annual report released by LendEDU.

The online marketplace for financial products finds that New Jersey grads recorded the 10th highest average loan debt amount among the states in 2019, at $31,818.

New Jersey's average loan debt declined 5.28% compared to the prior year's report. The sample of schools used is not the same from year to year.

Of all 2019 graduates in the Garden State, 62% left with student loan debt, the report shows. Twelve states posted a larger proportion.

"The coronavirus pandemic has definitely opened up a lot of eyes in terms of what he true value of a college education is, and what it's worth," said Mike Brown, of LendEDU. "There's still so much uncertainty with this academic year."

With the switch to virtual learning towards the end of the 2019-2020 academic year, Brown said, parents were given the opportunity to see their children earn credits toward a college degree from the comfort of their own homes — which can be accomplished through an online college or other alternatives cheaper than full tuition.

"As a parent, as a student, you really need to ask yourselves is going to college this year really worth it?" Brown said.

Schools included in the survey are those that responded to a survey about 2019 figures, in 2020.

At $37,900, Stevens Institute of Technology, located in Hoboken, posted New Jersey's highest average debt per 2019 graduate among schools that responded. The average debt also topped $30,000 at Ramapo College, Rowan University, Rutgers-New Brunswick and Rutgers-Camden.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com

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