Gain valuable insights into the landscape of student loans with these key statistics, providing practical knowledge for effectively managing higher education debt.
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Good education and a diploma increase the chances of employment and faster career advancements. With the cost of tuition on the rise, students must make the difficult decision of enrolling in colleges and applying for financial aid, making a decade-long commitment, and carrying this financial burden before they ever enter their professional field.
We’ve compiled a list of student loan statistics to help students and parents make the best decision possible for their financial futures
Students Loans Overview
- The student loan debt in 2020 is $1.56 trillion (Forbes, 2020)
- Student loans are expected to reach $2 trillion by 2023 (Saving For College, 2019)
- One-third of adults under age 30 have student loan debt (Pew Research, 2019)
- Nearly two-thirds of graduating seniors had student loans (TICAS, 2018)
- The average student loan debt is $32,731 (Forbes, 2020)
- Tuition fees are by far the highest expense of students today (Avanse)
Federal Vs. Private Student Loans
- 35.2 million student loan borrowers hold $1.2 billion in Direct Loans; another 12 million borrowers hold $262 billion in Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL); Perkins loans have 2 million borrowers holding $6 billion in loans (Forbes, 2020)
- About 5% of undergraduates borrow private loans (TICAS, 2019)
- Interest rates for undergraduate private education loans were 14.24%, compared to federal undergraduate student loan interest of 5.05% (TICAS, 2019)
- The average monthly payment for federal student loans is $393 (Federal Reserve, 2017)
Student Loans Demographics
- Women owe more than three-fifths of student debt (Saving For College, 2019)
- Maryland is the state with the highest average student loan debt ($41,460), and North Dakota has the lowest student loan debt ($26,677) (Student Loan Planner, 2020)
- Nearly two-thirds of adults have used a co-signer to obtain student loans (Avanse)
- 22% of students with full tuition scholarships still borrow at least $30,000 to cover living expenses (Brookings, 2019)
- Only 1% of the adult population, or 6% of student loan borrowers have a six-figure student loan debt, which is most common among postgraduate degrees holders (Pew Research, 2019)
Defaulting & Loan Forgiveness
- There were 161,328 applications for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) however, 99% of applicants were rejected (Studentaid)
- The total balance discharged through PSLF is $99,184,903 (Studentaid)
- 10.8% of student debt is at least 90 days past due or in default (Investopedia, 2019)
- Borrowers with small balances and no degree are most likely to default (Student Loan Planner, 2020)
- 37% of people who took out a loan for an associate’s degree but never completed it are behind on their payments (Investopedia, 2019)
- One-third of borrowers who started repayment in 2005 finished on time (Avanse)
Student Loans by College Type
- 66% of graduates from public colleges had student loans and borrowed an average of $26,900 (TICAS, 2019)
- 68% of graduates from private nonprofit colleges had student loans and borrowed an average of $31,450 (TICAS, 2019)
- 83% of graduates from for-profit colleges had student loans and borrowed an average of $39,900 (TICAS, 2019)
- In 2015-16, about 72% of undergraduate students across all college types received some form of financial help, such as grants, loans, and work-study (NCES)
Effects Of College Education and Loan Debt
- The typical U.S. worker with a bachelor’s degree earns $1 million more over the course of a full-time career than a similar worker with just a high school diploma (Investing in Higher Education, 2016)
- Individuals with college degrees have lower unemployment rates and increased odds of moving up the economic ladder (Investing in Higher Education, 2016)
- The burden of high debt is making Millennials more reluctant to start a business, get married, purchase a home (Debt.org)
- Millennials will have to save twice as much as their parents for retirement savings to live comfortably (Debt.org)
- Only 32% of student loan borrowers are likely to report living comfortably, compared to 51% of those without loans (Pew Research, 2019)
For many students having debt is inevitable; however, being well informed about your options and plans can lessen the financial strain. For employers, a corporate student loan program can be a major benefit to your employees who face mounting financial burdens from their college degrees.
Written by Shortlister Editorial Team
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