You don't have to be a math major to understand this statistic: The average student loan debt of last year's college graduates topped $25,000 — the first time it's exceeded that mark.
Seniors who graduated in 2010 had an average student loan burden of $25,250, up 5.2% from the $24,000 owed by those in the class of 2009, according to a report by the Project on Student Debt at the Institute for College Access & Success in Oakland.
Some experts had expected a bigger increase in debt given the gloomy economy, but increased financial aid at some schools partially offset the hit for low-income students and those at pricier colleges.
Still, the increased debt load is another challenge for college graduates who already were facing a punishing job market. The unemployment rate for college graduates aged 20 to 24 rose to 9.1% last year, up from 8.7% in 2009 and the highest annual rate on record, according to the nonprofit research organization.