Tired of student loans? These schools will leave you with little debt.

College costs are not only what you pay up front, but also what debt you carry into the future. The class of 2009 graduated with an average of $24,000 in debts from student loans, up 6 percent from the previous year, according to a report Thursday from The Project on Student Debt in Oakland, Calif. But the report also identifies 20 four-year public and private nonprofit colleges where graduates took on the least amount of debt – an average of $3,000 to $8,500.

Work colleges

The College of the Ozarks campus in Point Lookout, Mo., in 2003. (Shane Keyser/Newscom)

At these schools, all students work to help run the campus instead of paying tuition. But some of them still borrow money to cover the cost of books, supplies, and other personal expenses.

Two colleges:

Berea College in Kentucky

College of the Ozarks in Missouri

Private nonprofit colleges and universities

Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. (Newscom)

Williams College and Princeton University are examples of pricey colleges that pledged to meet all of students’ documented financial need so they could graduate without loans. Earlier this year, however, after significant losses in its endowment, Williams announced that starting with the class of 2011, some students would be expected to take on modest loans.

Eight colleges:

Caldwell College in New Jersey

• California Institute of Technology

• Hampton University in Virginia

• Lane College in Tennessee

• Princeton University in New Jersey

The Baptist College of Florida

Tusculum College in Tennessee

• Williams College in Massachusetts

Public colleges and universities

The Kansas City Chiefs practice during training camp at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in River Falls, Wis., in 2009. (Newscom)

These schools’ low-debt levels stand incontrast to the average amount of debt graduates take on in their states: Oklahoma: $20,469; New York: $25,739; Georgia: $16,568; Texas: $20,015; Wisconsin: $22,904; New Mexico: $21,478.

At the City University of New York (CUNY) Staten Island, students pay an average of $6,884 a year after receiving financial aid, according to the US Department of Education’s College Navigator website. Thirteen percent of students took out loans in 2008-09, at an average amount of just under $4,000.

Ten colleges:

Cameron University in Oklahoma

• CUNY College of Staten Island in New York

• CUNY Hunter College in New York

• Kennesaw State University in Georgia

• Lamar University in Texas

• New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Sam Houston State University in Texas

• Southeastern Oklahoma State University

University of Wisconsin, River Falls

Western New Mexico University