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5 Best & Worst Graduate Degrees for Student Loan Burden

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(Related: Top 20 Colleges Worth the Cost: Princeton Review)

Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be in the medical profession, at least if you don’t want them graduating with the heaviest student loan debt of all graduate degree majors.

These findings come from the data of more than 91,000 student loan borrowers in a recently updated study by Credible, a platform that aggregates and compares loan information, which analyzed student loan debt levels and salaries across 16 graduate school majors.

The data came from borrowers who came to the site to request interest rates for potentially refinancing their student loan debt. The median age of the borrowers was 32.

Veterinarians have the highest median loan balance as a percentage of annual income at 164%, while engineers have the lowest at 59%.

Though extending loan payments over longer periods may result in lower monthly payments, interest payments increase the loan total. Those who took the longest to pay off debt are lawyers, who came to the site with 15.4 years remaining on their loans, while dentists were next at 14.9 years. Engineers were the most efficient at 12.7 years.

One medical profession that was in the lower debt-ratio group was nursing (7.1%). On average, nurses with a graduate-level degree had an annual income of $96,000 and paid $566 monthly, and had an average of 13 years left on loan payments. (Credible pointed out that nurses sought out refinancing later in their careers than other borrowers, at a median age of 37.)

Check out the gallery above for the graduate degrees with the five highest and five lowest debt burdens, as measured by student loan debt-to-income ratio.

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