MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- University officials say the average student loan debt at graduation from Wisconsin's public campuses is about $27,000.
Thirty years ago, that debt was less than $5,000. With tuition outpacing inflation, student aid dropping and parents struggling in a tough economy, students turn to financial aid to earn their college degree.
University of Wisconsin academic affairs vice president Mary Nook told the UW Board of Regents Thursday that 71 percent of students attending state public universities now take out loans to help pay for college. Nook says the burden on middle class families is at the center of the national debate on college affordability. Students in those families receive less financial aid and must take on greater debt.
The Journal Sentinel reports the highest percentage of graduates with loan debt is was at UW-Superior with 87 percent.