A new release of federal data has revealed that while some of America's wealthiest colleges—including NYU—are splashing out on massive new projects, they're leaving their poorest students with mountains of debt.

ProPublica analyzed the figures, and pointed out that NYU's Pell Grant recipients—students from families earning less than $30,000 a year—are saddled with an average of $23,250 in federal loans post-graduation. Meanwhile, the school is backed by a $3.5 billion endowment, \ has built new campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, helped star professors buy vacation houses on Fire Island, and has just had their multi-billion dollar expansion plan approved by the state Court of Appeals.

Student debt, while obviously stressful for all young people, is particularly worrying when it comes to grads from a low-income background, putting them at a disadvantage "for years to come, limiting a graduate's ability to save, get a mortgage, or get the job they aspire to." Mark Huelsman, a senior analyst at Demos (a public policy nonprofit) told ProPublica, "At the end of the day, you're talking about households that don't have nearly as much wealth to fall back on."

Rebecca Arthur, a sophomore at NYU, spoke about her struggles with tuition fees. Her photography course at Tisch carries a price-tag of over $250,000. After her mother's death, NYU increased her financial aid. Even so, she's worked four jobs, tried crowdfunded part of her tuition, and will still leave with $24,000 in loans. "People that really want [to go to NYU] and deserve it shouldn't have to fight for it," said Arthur.

Earlier this year, NYU freshman Nia Mirza launched a petition to fight back against high tuition fees, after a surprise rise from $64,000 annually (including tuition and cost of expenses) to almost $71,000—after she'd already committed to the school via early decision. Mirza said she'd "heard from several former students who were forced to drop out due to their inability to shoulder the crushing expense".

Beyond NYU, some of the other multi-billion dollar schools named in ProPublica's report include the University of Southern California, Boston University, and Wake Forest University—the latter leaving low-income students with close to $30,000 in debt.