Student Loan Debt Statistics

See where consumers stand with student debt in the U.S.

student loan debt statistics

Each year scores of individuals head to college. Some view attending college as a rite of passage, while others see it as a means of obtaining better paying jobs; some go because they’ve told it’s the right thing to do.

Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to pay the cost of higher education out of pocket –especially right out of school when it can be tough to find a job that pays what you really need. What’s more, students often have to leave school before they can earn their degree, but they’re still on the hook for any debt they’re incurred. As a result, you can find yourself in a situation where you have the bills of a higher education without the income to match.

With this in mind, is it any wonder that so many people face payments they can’t make and defaulted debt that can’t even be erased through bankruptcy? The statistics below provide an overview of where we stand with student loan debt in the U.S. If you’re struggling and need help to lower your payments so you can afford to pay back what you owe, call us at 1-888-472-0365 to connect with the help you need.

General stats about student loan debtGeneral student loan debt statistics

Federal loans:

  • The national student loan debt hovers over $1.2 trillion [1]
  • Average student loan debt per borrower — $29,400 [3]
  • Number of Federal student loans guaranteed or held by the federal government — over $1 trillion [5]
  • Percentage of federal student loans the government disburses — 55%; banks disburses the other 45% percent of federal student loans [5]
  • Estimated number of Direct Subsidized Loans that will be made in 2014 —  9.4 million The value of these loans —$28 billion [8]
  • Total number of borrowers with federal student loans — 39 million [8]

Private loans:

  • On a national level, 20 percent of graduates take out private loans [8]
  • Average private loan debt amount — $13,600 [8]
  • Total outstanding private student loans at the end of 2011 — $150 billion [8]

Trends:

  • Student loan debt has risen nearly 70 percent over the past five years [6]
  • In 2012‑13, the average net tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates at private nonprofit four-year — $13,380 [7]
  • In 2011-12 the average net tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates at private nonprofit four-year — $12,600 [7]

The increasing cost of educationAffording a higher education

  • Number of people who attend college annually — over 20 million [2]
  • Number of people who borrow to attend college each year — close to 12 million or 60% [2]
  • In 2012, 71 percent of student graduated with loans [5]
  • In 2008, 68 percent of seniors graduated with loans [5]
  • Percentage of students who graduate from for profit colleges with private loans — 41 % [8]
  • Percentage of bachelor degree recipients who graduate with private loans — 30% [8]
  • From 2008 to 2012, debt at graduation (federal and private loans combined) increased an average of six percent each year. [5]
  • Percentage of students for profit colleges enroll nationally —13 percent [9]
  • Between 1999-2000 and 2009-10 the number of degrees awarded by for-profit institutions increased from 4% to 10% [7]
  • In contrast, between 1999-2000 and 2009-10, the percentage of degrees awarded by public institutions declined from 66% to 62 % [7]
  • The percentage of degrees awarded by private nonprofit institutions during this 10‑year period also declined from 30% to 28% [7]

The highs and lows of college tuitionThe highs and lows of paying for school

For the 2013-2014 academic school year:

  • National average for in-state tuition and fee prices at a public four-year institution — $8,893 [7]
  • National average for in-state tuition and fee prices at public two-year institutions — $3,264 [7]
  • States with the highest published in-state tuition and fees for public four-year institutions: (1) New Hampshire — $14,665, (2) Vermont  — $13,958 [7]
  • The lowest published in-state tuition and fees for public four-year colleges and universities: (1) Wyoming — $4,404, (2) Average in Alaska — $5,885 [7]
  • States with the highest published in-state tuition and fees for public two-year institutions: (1) New Hampshire — $6,736, (2) Vermont  — $7,090 [7]
  • The lowest published in-state tuition and fees for public two‑year colleges in 2013-14: (1) California — $1,424, (2) New Mexico — $1,696 [7]

Student loan interest rate statsStudent loan interest rate statistics

Interest Rates for new Direct Loans made on or after July 1, 2014, and before July 1, 2015: [4]

  • Direct Subsidized Loans for Undergraduates — 4.66%
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans for Undergraduates — 4.66%
  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans for Graduate or Professional Students — 6.21%
  • Direct PLUS Loans for Parents and Graduate or Professional Students —7.21%

Student loan defaultStudent debt default statistics

  • Across all colleges, 14.7 percent of borrowers defaulted within three years of entering repayment [9]
  • Number of nonpayment months it takes to default on federal student loans — at least 9 months [9]
  • Number of federal student loan borrowers who entered repayment in 2010 and defaulted on their loans by 2012 — more than 600,000 [9]
  • The largest share of these students — 46 percent — attended for-profit colleges [9]

For-profit colleges also had a much higher average default rate than other types of schools: [9]

  • For profit — 21.8 percent
  • Public colleges — 13.0 percent
  • Nonprofit colleges — 8.2 percent
Sources:
[1] http://www.consumerfinance.gov/newsroom/student-debt-swells-federal-loans-now-top-a-trillion/
[2] http://www.asa.org/policy/resources/stats/
[3] http://www.asa.org/site/assets/files/3483/2014_annual_report-for-web.pdf
[4] https://studentaid.ed.gov/about/announcements/interest-rate
[5] http://www.asa.org/site/assets/files/3483/2014_annual_report-for-web.pdf
[6] http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/notes/feds-notes/2014/a-few-thoughts-on-the-recent-deceleration-of-student-loan-debt-20140219.html
[7] http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/in-state-tuition-fees-state-2013-14-and-5-year-percentage-changes
[8] http://www.asa.org/site/assets/files/3483/2014_annual_report-for-web.pdf
[9] http://www.ticas.org/files/pub/CDR_2013_NR.pdf