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U.S. News reports student debt, FGCU mistakenly tops list

The U.S. News and World Report, famous for its college rankings, has recently put Florida Gulf Coast University at the top of the debt list — accidentally.

One of the media outlet’s lists shows colleges whose students graduate with the most debt. An FGCU employee who filled out the survey to send to U.S. News mistakenly typed $56,208, instead of the correct number, $21,394.

The News-Press noticed the error Monday, Sept. 8 and pointed it out to FGCU, according to a News-Press story by Dave Breitenstein.

The higher, inaccurate number was published in U.S. News guidebooks, and at this point cannot be corrected in print. It puts FGCU as No. 1 in the nation for the amount of debt that students graduate with. The actual university with the highest graduate debt is St. Francis University in Pennsylvania, at $50,275.

Susan Evans, the university’s vice president and chief of staff,  said that when FGCU realized the error, it was too late to correct the information in the printed U.S. News lists. However, the outlet has changed its information on the U.S. News website.

“As you know, potential students and their families typically utilize the Internet and online resources for their research about colleges and universities,” Evans said. “Fortunately our information online at U.S. News and World Report is correct.”

In reality, FGCU has a low amount of graduate debt in relation to other universities in the nation. The number is calculated using students who graduate with bachelor’s degrees  according to Evans. The number takes the average debt of only the 49 percent of students who graduate with debt.

The 51 percent of FGCU students who graduate with no debt to banks or the government is not included in that average. If the average were taken to include the students who graduate $0 in debt, the $21,394 would be an even lower amount.

According to Evans, “The U.S. News and World Report situation has been resolved.”

About The Author

Nina Barbero

Nina Barbero is a senior majoring in economics, and has been writing for Eagle News since her freshman year and enters her senior year as Eagle News' Managing Editor. When she is not in the newsroom, you can probably find her swimming at the beach, trying to talk her way out of overdue book fines at the library or hoping the Giants win at least one game this season.