The number of students that graduated from four-year public and private colleges with student loan debt tracked slightly downward for the class of 2017.

According to the third annual Student Loan Debt by School by State Report, published by LendEDU, 57.96 percent of Class of 2017 graduates stepping into the real world carry student loan debt, down from 59.78 students graduating from the Class of 2016.

While the number of students owing money was down, the average debt per borrower was up slightly, to $28,288.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.