Western New England University
Western New England University
Paul Schnaittacher—Paul Schnaittacher

These days, it's hard to get a good job without a college degree. And it's hard to get a college degree without taking out student loans.

More than two-thirds of college seniors have student loans. The average size of their debt: $30,100.

For most, the risk pays off. Within three years of leaving school, about two-thirds of borrowers are earning a decent living and paying down their debts.

But if you are worried about taking on large student loans, it's important to pay attention to the track record of the college you're thinking of attending.

Some schools have such low costs, or provide such generous grants or scholarships, that most of their students graduate debt-free.

Other colleges have a history of loading most of their students up with unusually large student loans.

Here are the colleges the produce graduates with the highest average debt loads, according to data from The Institute for College Access & Success. To make this list, a school had to have at least 1,000 students and at least 50% of recent graduates with student loans. We also eliminated narrowly specialized colleges, such as music and theology schools.

The loan default rates shown here come from federal data. For comparison purposes, the national average default rate for four-year public and private colleges is 7.1%.

As you'll see, some of these schools produce graduates who earn such high salaries that they can handle these big loans. Of course, some don't.