Naturally, one can easily blame it all on the students, banks, and perhaps even the whole system, in general, but we are not here to talk about that. We are here to talk about student loan debt statistics and other important figures you ought to know. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into past figures, the present situation, future estimates, and more. All to the benefit of your personal finance strategies.
So, let’s get right into it by highlighting some of the most important stats.
Top 10 Student Loan Debt Facts
- The total student loan debt in the US is around $1.56 trillion.
- The average student loan in the US is $32,731.
- People in their mid-30s have the highest student loan debts
- A typical graduate has $82,800 in student loan debts.
- 65% of students who graduate have student loans.
- Each second, $2,858 of student debt is accrued in the US.
- The student loan debt total tripled since 2006.
- 36% of students with student loans believe these loans are not worth it.
- Around 1 million people default on their student loans every year.
- Merely 6% of borrowers hold a third of all student debt.
Average Student Loan Debt in 2020
1. The total student loan debt in the US is around $1.56 trillion.
As you can see, the latest projections are simply astonishing, to say the least. For comparison, only the total mortgage debt in the US is higher right now.
2. The average student loan debt in the US is $32,731.
Thanks to the estimated total amount of student loan debt and the fact that there are around 44.7 million borrowers in the country, we now know exactly what this figure is — grim to be sure.
3. Connecticut is the US state with the highest student loans debt average — $38,510.
On the other hand, we have Utah with “only” $18,838. The second best, i.e., the state with the second-lowest average debt from student loans, is New Mexico. Surprisingly, California is the fifth-lowest with the figure being $22,785.
4. The average student loan monthly payment is $393.
The total amount of debt is somewhat of an abstract concept and it doesn’t tell you much unless you dissect it into smaller bite-size chunks. Enter monthly payments. Namely, they are a lot more informative as they tell you the exact amount people have to pay each month.
5. The median student loan debt is $17,000.
Averages don’t always show the complete picture, but median figures certainly do. What’s more, the median student loan monthly payment is $222 at the moment, which is significantly lower than the average.
6. People in their mid-30s have the highest student loan debts.
If you ever wanted to know the average student loan debt by age, now you have the answer. The average 35-year-old person has $42,564 in student loan debt, which is the highest of any age.
The lowest average student loan debts are found among people in their early 20s. More specifically, people aged 21 have the lowest student loan debt of just $11,576. In general, the numbers get higher as people get older and they peak in the mid-30s, after which they slowly decline.
7. Surprisingly, people in their 80s still have student loan debts, which are, in fact, higher than those of people in their 20s.
People in their 80s have an average debt of $22,879, whereas those above the age of 90 have average student loans of $21,492.
People in their 20s have student loan debts around $21,682. In essence, these student loan debt statistics from 2019 just go to show that people never stop paying off their student loans, so this definitely adds up to the sum needed for retirement.
8. A typical graduate has $82,800 in student loan debts.
This is the total student loan debt an average graduate has, after getting all the advanced degrees. However, the average graduate student loan debt (just the bachelor’s degree) is around $71,000, which is still a massive number, to be sure.
Nevertheless, the figures vary greatly depending on the University in question.
9. $292,169 is the average dental school debt.
In turn, this makes them one of the highest student loan debts out there. The average debt of a medical student is also quite high, standing at $201,490, which is nothing to sneeze at either.
10. 65% of students who graduate have student loans.
Meaning, 2 out of 3 students graduate with a sizable debt on their hands. On average, it’s around $29,200, to be more precise.
Average Student Debt in the US — The Big Climb
11. Each second, $2,858 of student debt is accrued in the US.
According to these figures, $171,480 of student debt is accrued each minute, and another $10,288,800 each hour! That’s essentially $246,931,200 on a daily basis that US students have to pay off at some point in the future.
12. Since 1989, only a quarter of all the increases can be attributed to the growing number of students enrolling to university.
In essence, the fairly large average college debt and the increasingly high totals are mainly due to the high levels of debt per student. The biggest problems are low earnings of for-profit students, dropouts, and high default rates.
If you’re not careful, defaulting on your loans can considerably damage your overall credit score.
13. The total student loan debt increases by $49 billion each year.
(Federal Reserve Bank of New York)
According to college debt statistics from 2019, it just keeps accumulating more and more with each passing year. In other words, the debt will likely keep on rising unless something is done.
14. The total student loan debt tripled since 2006.
Less than 15 years ago, the student loan debt was “just” $481 billion. The fact that it tripled in such a short amount of time means people keep taking larger and larger student loans; of which many are unable to pay them off entirely.
Interesting Student Loan Debt Statistics
15. In Q1 2020, 10.8% of student loan debt was 90 days delinquent or more.
(Federal Reserve Bank of New York)
This is a fairly small decline from the previous quarter — hence why it probably won’t change much in the near future either. More importantly, the percentage is larger than any other type of debt.
16. On average, student loan interest rates are around 6%.
We are basing our average student loan interest rate on the fact that the average federal interest rates on student loans are 4.66% for undergraduates, 6.22% for graduates, and 7.27% for parents and graduates getting PLUS loans.
Also, some good news — interest rates are going to hit record lows this year. So, if you’re planning on getting a loan as an undergraduate, you’re likely to enjoy lower interest rates!
17. 36% of students with student loans believe these loans are not worth it.
Naturally, such statistics on college debt don’t necessarily show an objective truth. They merely show what a sizable portion of the student body thinks.
Overall, it all depends on your specific needs, but being rational does pay off.
18. Students from 2-year vocational schools and technical colleges usually have student loan debts of just around $10,000.
As expected, the average student loan debt for 2-year degree students is a lot smaller than those of a regular 4-year college student.
19. Around 1 million people default on their student loans every year.
If that wasn’t bad enough, estimates show almost 40% of all student loan borrowers are likely to default by 2023.
20. Merely 6% of borrowers hold a third of all student debt.
(Voice of America)
Essentially, these student loan debt statistics tell us that less than three million borrowers collectively hold half a trillion dollars in student loan debt!
Conversely, 18% of all student loan borrowers owe less than $5,000. In other words, around eight million people hold barely 1% of the total student loan debt.
What percentage of students get student loans?
The higher amount of total student loan debt suggests that there are a lot of students out there who take loans. But the actual percentage might surprise you.
According to student loan debt statistics from 2018, 70% of all American students take student loans, from a total of 70+ million students! What’s also interesting is the fact that 65% of students graduate college with student debt that they have to pay off at some point.
What is the average student loan debt in America?
We talked about this point in greater detail above. Namely, the average as of 2020 is $32,731. A total of 44.7 million American students have collectively borrowed $1.56 trillion, and that number keeps on rising with each passing second.
Is student loan debt a crisis?
A lot of people have differing opinions on the subject. Some will say that it’s necessary for students to take loans, no matter how big of a debt that creates, whereas others will say that the whole system is plain terrible.
What we can tell you for certain is that the current situation with student loan debts in the US is most definitely a crisis, as numerous student loan debt facts highlight. It’s a crisis because too many students have massive student loans that will take years, if not decades, to pay back.
Something has to change or too many people will end up not being able to pay off their debt. More importantly, too many people have some hard years ahead of them as soon as they get out of college, preciously because of the massive debts they accrued.
Who holds most of the student loan debt?
(Center for American Progress)
The great majority of student loans are federal, or to be more precise, 92% of all student loan balances come from the federal government. Hence, they are all guaranteed by the government and it doesn’t matter who holds them in the end.
The remaining 8% are all private loans — $119 billion in total. These loans carry no government guarantees against things like defaulting, and they usually have worse terms than the ones issued by the federal government.
The Bottom Line
We tried to lay out the most important student loan debt statistics you need to know. The figures might not be something you want to hear, but that doesn’t make them any less factual.
No matter how you feel about them, they are bound to give you a better perspective on student loans and the debt they accumulate. If you’re thinking about getting a student loan, you now have adequate knowledge to make the right decision.