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Realtors worry college debt will hamper homebuying

Mike Ruzika, president of Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors, said his members are keeping a close eye on rising student loan debt. That debt is one of the main barriers young people now face when buying a house and, likewise, one of the main barriers the housing industry is grappling with.

As a result, he said, it might take longer than normal for young people to be ready to buy first homes. When those people are ready, Ruzika said, they might buy smaller homes than the previous generation did. Those homes probably won’t have two-car garages, he said, but will be close to urban centers and to public transportation routes.

“We’re very concerned about college debt,” he said.


Real estate student shortage raises alarm

The Institute for College Access & Success’s Project on Student Debt tracks the average student loan debt of graduates from public and private, nonprofit colleges and universities.

The average national debt for 2012 graduates was $29,400. Two public schools, the Milwaukee and Stout campuses of the University of Wisconsin, had higher student loan debt averages. Graduates from 11 private, nonprofit schools had higher-than-average debt.

Here are the average student loan debts for Wisconsin graduates in 2012, the last year for which information is available.


  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: $32,371.
  • University of Wisconsin-Stout: $29,879
  • University of Wisconsin-Superior: $26,486
  • University of Wisconsin-River Falls: $25,557
  • University of Wisconsin-Whitewater: $25,147
  • University of Wisconsin-La Crosse: $24,863
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison: $24,700
  • University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point: $24,054
  • University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire: $23,825
  • University of Wisconsin-Green Bay: $23,650

Information was not available for the UW campuses at Oshkosh, Parkside and Platteville.

Private, nonprofit:

  • Alverno College (Milwaukee): $41,405
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering: $38,038
  • Carroll University (Waukesha): $35,986
  • Marquette University (Milwaukee): $34,602
  • Bellin College (Green Bay): $33,961
  • Concordia University-Wisconsin (Mequon): $31,897
  • Saint Norbert College (De Pere): $31,331
  • Ripon College: $31,216
  • Lawrence University (Appleton): $30,724
  • Lakeland College (Plymouth): $30,105
  • Mount Mary University (Milwaukee): $29,618
  • Beloit College: $27, 981
  • Cardinal Stritch University (Milwaukee): $27,292
  • Marian University (Fond du Lac): $27,000
  • Wisconsin Lutheran College (Milwaukee): $25,368
  • Northland College (Ashland): $24,374
  • Edgewood College (Madison): $23,464
  • Northland International University (Dunbar): $11,482.

Information was not available for Carthage College, College of Menominee Nation, Columbia College of Nursing, Maranatha Baptist Bible College, Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, Ottawa University-Milwaukee, Silver Lake College of the Holy Family and Viterbo University.

About Beth Kevit

Beth Kevit is the Milwaukee city beat reporter and also covers real estate. She can be reached at [email protected] or 414-225-1820.

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