The recession also could be to blame for this jump, said Marshall spokesman David Wellman.
"This might go back to the 2008 recession," Wellman said. "The overall economic climate has contributed to the increased need in financial aid."
He said Marshall serves a large number of students who qualify for financial aid and state programs - need-based grant programs and the Promise scholarship - have decreased funding available.
Glenville State College students face similar problems, said Karen Lay, the school's director of financial aid. She said an "awful lot of needy students" attend Glenville, which could account for the 54 percent increase in student loan debt since 2006.
She said many students are coming back to school to be retrained; if they already have a bachelor's degree, then they are not eligible for federal grants, she said. That could be part of the reason Glenville graduates left with $25,957 in debt in 2011, compared to $16,856 in 2006.
Like Wellman and Widney, Lay said her school does offer financial counseling and online resources for students. Widney said she isn't sure many students actually use the services.
Debt loads for students who graduated from private institutions in West Virginia varied wildly.
Graduates of Davis & Elkins College left with an average $39,077 in debt in 2011, but financial aid director Matt Summers said the school already has pushed for changes with current students. The debt level fell to $32,125 for 2012 graduates, thanks to more school scholarships and counseling, he said.
He also pointed to the school's 13.6 percent loan default rate - about the same as the national average - as proof Davis & Elkins students might have high debt but they're finding jobs to pay off those loans.
The 2011 graduates of Mountain State University left with $36,187 in loan debt. Financial concerns were one of many reasons cited for the school's loss of accreditation over the summer.
Students from the University of Charleston - which stepped in as the major partner in transitioning students out of Mountain State - graduated in 2011 with $24,000 in average loan debt, said spokesman Scott Castleman.
The data used in the report comes from Peterson's Undergraduate Financial Aid and Undergraduate Databases. Peterson's is one of several companies that use information from surveys sent to colleges.
More information about institutions across West Virginia and the nation can be found at projectonstudentdebt.org.