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How Your SAT Score Affects Student Debt

A little-discussed but important high SAT score byproduct is how it helps lower student debt. Here is how the SAT score student debt relationship works in a nutshell.

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Why Student Debt Has Skyrocketed

Why did we get here?

Student-loan debt has skyrocketed in the United States to over $1 trillion dollars, according to research. A Pew Research Center report found that people between the ages of 25 to 32 with a college degree earn 63% more than the same age group without one.

Given this financial upside, it makes perfect sense then why many college students take on student loan debt in the first place.

The SAT Score Student Debt Relationship

In 2016, the average college graduate could expect to repay more than $37,000 in loan fees.

In that same year, a wide-ranging study found that students with higher SAT scores graduate with significantly less student debt. On the flip side, students with lower SAT scores often graduate with higher debt through student loans. While it was assumed that this correlation was always true, this was the first time that data proved.

SAT Score Student Debt – By The Numbers

Here is a sample of schools that show the direct correlation between average SAT scores and student debt levels upon graduation.

School SAT Score Average Median Student Debt
Harvard University 1501 $7,000
Rice University 1460 $10,000
UCLA 1330 $16,000
Arizona State University 1135 $20,000
Georgia State University 1055 $23,000
Kent State University 1050 $26,000
Lincoln University 862 $29,000
South Carolina State 810 $35,000
Central State University 804 $40,000
Livingston College 720 $41,000


What You Can Learn From This Study

Taking the SAT Seriously Generates Financial Rewards.

The potential reduction in student debt upon graduation means that your career begins without being weighed down. Your post-graduate career earnings can immediately help build your financial future, rather than paying down mountains of debt.

Furthermore, the career opportunities gained from a four-year degree in a competitive field normally have an unlimited upside.

Consider Public Universities For Opportunities

If you’re looking at schools where you can better leverage your high SAT score, then consider public schools. Public universities and colleges often tend to graduate students with lesser student debt that for-profit schools.

However, do your research first. Ultimately, a higher SAT score makes you competitive for merit-based scholarships and awards. Those awards pay for tuition and other costs without creating debt. The more money you can gain from those channels, the less likely you’ll be to take on extensive debt from loans.


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Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Written by Dr. Shaan Patel MD MBA

Prep Expert Founder & CEO

Shark Tank Winner, Perfect SAT Scorer, Dermatologist, & #1 Bestselling Author
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