MBAs That Lead To The Lowest Debt


10 MBA Programs With the Lowest Debt


You try not to think about it. Eventually, you’ll have to face it. If you’re enrolled in business school, you’re probably wading in debt. And the higher the debt, the fewer options you ultimately have.

A recent report by the College Board found that graduate students borrowed, on average, $17,230 in Federal loans during the 2012-2013 school year. And overall debt? Let’s put it this way: According to U.S. News and World Report, students who graduated from Virginia Darden, MIT Sloan, and UCLA Anderson came away with average debts of $105,490, $100,212, and $71,995, respectively.

Get the picture?

However, there are some business programs where graduates enjoy higher average starting salaries than average debt load. In fact, a few institutions have starting-salary-to-debt-load of 4-to-1 – and higher. So which schools should you attend if you’re looking for a clean slate when you re-enter the workforce?

This week, U.S. News mined their data and came up with the ten programs with the highest salary-to-debt ratio. And it starts in Baton Rouge, home of Louisiana State’s Ourso School of Business. Ranked #61 by U.S. News, LSU’s ratio is over 7-to-1, with graduates earning average salaries of $59,672 in their first year, while paying off only $8,181 in debt. In fact, the top four schools for lowest debt – Louisiana State University, Auburn University, the University of Texas-Dallas, and Texas Tech University – are all located in the south.  While their starting salaries top out at $78,107, the debt in these schools, on average, only goes as high as $15,500…the cost of a down payment on a starter home. And the University of Texas-Dallas, in particular, is popular with recruiters, making it easier to land a job in the first place.

What other schools made the list – and what are their ratios. Here is the chart of the MBA programs with the lowest debt, courtesy of U.S. News:

School Salary Average Debt Salary-To-Debt Ratio U.S. News Rank
Louisiana State (Ourso) $59,762 $8,181 7.1 to 1 61
Auburn University $57,169 $8,500 6.7 to 1 75
Texas-Dallas (Jindal) $78,107 $15,500 5.0 to 1 37
Texas Tech (Rawls) $52,127 $12,365 4.2 to 1 Not ranked
University of Scranton $75,983 $18,303 4.2 to 1 Not ranked
CUNY Baruch (Zicklin) $77,652 $18,827 4.1 to 1 75
Massachusetts (Isenberg) $82,900 $20,447 4.1 o 1 51
San Diego State $70,622 $18,320 3.9 to 1 86
Oregon (Lundquist) $61,140 $16,950 3.6 to 1 91
Brigham Young (Marriott) $95,721 $27,425 3.5 to 1 30

Keep in mind, this chart doesn’t include placement rates. However, many of these schools fare well here too. For example, 74.6% of Louisiana State graduates have jobs at graduation, with the number increasing to 90.5% within 3 months of graduation. And Texas-Dallas and Auburn report 89.6% and 81.5% placement rates within three months of graduation, respectively. The remaining Top 10 are hit-and-miss, with Texas Tech reporting a 38.9% placement rate at 3 months and Isenberg tabulating a 95% rate.

Source: U.S. News and World Report

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