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

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 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 be easily 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.

Affording a higher education

student loan debt statistics, affording a higher education; Shot of a group of businesspeople sitting in the boardroom during a presentation

  • Only 30% of undergraduates took federal student loans in 2016-17.[4]
  • In 2016-17, 5% of undergraduate students borrowed subsidized loans only, 5% borrowed unsubsidized loans only, and 20% borrowed from both programs.[4]
  • Nearly seven in 10 seniors (68%) who graduated from public and non-profit colleges in 2015 had student loan debt.[2]

General student loan debt statistics

Federal loans:

  • The national student loan debt hovers over $1.48 trillion [1]
  • The average student in the Class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt[2]
  • Number of Federal student loans guaranteed or held by the federal government by the end of 2016 — over $1.4 trillion [3]
  • Average monthly student loan payment (for borrowers aged 20 to 30 years): $351 (2018)[1]
  • Total number of borrowers with federal student loans — 44.2 million [1]
  • Four out of five 2016 graduates with state loan debt attended schools in just four states: Texas, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and New Jersey that awarded only 14% of bachelor’s degrees.[2]

The highs and lows of paying for school

For the 2019-2020 academic school year:

  • Average tuition and fee prices at a public four-year institution — $10,440[5]
  • Average tuition and fee prices at public two-year institutions — $3,730[5]
  • Average tuition and fee prices at a private nonprofit four-year institution – $36,880[5]

By State:

[12, 13, 14, 15]

Alabama Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt[12]: $35,674
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State)[13]: $10,530
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State)[13]: $25,760
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living[14]: $34,495
  • Student Loan Default Rate[15]: 13.38%

Alaska Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $32,096
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $7,440
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $22,840
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $41,410
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11.16%

Arizona Student Loan Debt 

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $34,740
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $11,220
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $29,750
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $34,832
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11.45%

Arkansas Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $32,203
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,550
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $21,000
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $33,002
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 10.48%

California Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $37,468
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,680
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $32,590
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $34,473
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 8.80%

Colorado Student Loan Debt 

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $35,658
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $10,800
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $30,600
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $36,939
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 10.81%

Connecticut Student Loan Debt 

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $36,025
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $12,390
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $29,020
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $38,647
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11.03%

Delaware Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $36,098
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $12,270
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $30,970
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $36,481
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 8.86%

District of Columbia Student Loan Debt 

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $55,729
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): N/A
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): N/A
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $53,875
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 8.24%

Florida Student Loan Debt 

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $36,706
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $6,360
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $21,880
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $31,032
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 7.33%

Georgia Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $40,692
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,570
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $26,760
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $35,337
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 10.86%

Hawaii Student Loan Debt 

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $35,009
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $10,660
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $31,090
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $31,493
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.32%

Idaho Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $32,351
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $7,250
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $22,580
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $32,628
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 8.64%

Illinois Student Loan Debt 

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $36,975
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $13,620
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $23,480
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $35,507
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.51%

Indiana Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $31,992
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,360
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $29,170
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $35,115
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 14.24%

Iowa Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $29,416
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,760
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $26,040
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $36,179
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 10.30%

Kansas Student Loan Debt 

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $31,239
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,230
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $23,910
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $35,717
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11.60%

Kentucky Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $32,174
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $10,300
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $23,710
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $35,158
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 12.31%

Louisiana Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $34,508
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,300
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $23,280
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $34,201
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 13.50%

Maine Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $32,521
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,970
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $27,010
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $33,978
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.86%

Maryland Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $40,640
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,580
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $22,060 
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $36,577
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.35%

Massachusetts Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $36,181
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $12,730
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $29,220
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $40,886
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 5.82%

Michigan Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $35,307
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $12,930
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $36,840
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $36,727
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11.56%

Minnesota Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $32,052
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $11,300
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $20,890
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $38,349
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 8.29%

Mississippi Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $35,478
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $7,990
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $19,060
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $32,685
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 14.94%

Missouri Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $33,607
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,870
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $21,190 
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $36,708
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.94%

 Montana Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $31,030
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $6,910
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $23,220
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $32,665
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.59%

 Nebraska Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $30,013
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,270
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $20,310
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $35,339
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 7.31%

Nevada Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $33,863
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $7,270
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $21,510
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $33,961
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 18.16%

New Hampshire Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $34,072
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $16,070
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $28,430
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $33,710
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 10.25%

New Jersey Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $37,370
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $13,870
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $26,600
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $35,276
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.50%

 New Mexico Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $33,610
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $6,920
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $20,060
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $33,217
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 14.70%

New York Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $37,753
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $7,940
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $19,500
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $35,061
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 8.62%

North Carolina Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $36,257
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $7,380
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $24,520
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $35,098
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 10.60%

North Dakota Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $29,267
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,200
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $19,420
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $39,425
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 6.21%

 Ohio Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $34,365
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $10,510
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $25,000
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $37,814
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11.11%

Oklahoma Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $31,673
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,460
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $22,520
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $34,182
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 12.90%

Oregon Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $36,989
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $10,360
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $30,300
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $36,285
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11.50%

Pennsylvania Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $34,840
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $14,440
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $26,960
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $35,785
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.28%

Rhode Island Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $33,373
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $12,230
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $28,910
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $37,994
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 6.29%

South Carolina Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $36,552
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $12,610
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $31,350
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $33,385
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11.58%

South Dakota Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $28,782
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,450
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $12,480
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $33,356
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 10.66%

Tennessee Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $35,061
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,790
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $26,640
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $34,168
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11.57%

Texas Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $32,441
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,840
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $26,210
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $34,073
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 10.41%

Utah Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $31,671
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $6,790
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $20,730
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $34,380
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 7.53%

Vermont Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $34,221
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $16,040
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $38,990
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $35,064
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 6.17%

Virginia Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $36,885
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $12,820
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $33,270
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $35,814
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.82%

Washington Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $34,193
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,480
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $29,300
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $39,641
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.01%

West Virginia Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $31,222
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $7,890
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $21,550
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $32,777
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 14.63%

Wisconsin Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $30,556
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,960
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $22,930
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $36,545
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.02%

Wyoming Student Loan Debt

  • Average Student Loan Debt: $28,974
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $5,220
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $16,830
  • Average Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $38,371
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 10.07%

Student loan interest rate statistics

Loan Type2019-2020 Rate2018-19 Rate2017-18 Rate2016-17 Rate
Direct Subsidized Loans (Undergraduate)4.53%5.05%4.45%3.76%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans (Undergraduate)4.53%5.05%4.45%3.76%
Direct Unsubsidized Loans (Graduate)6.08%6.60%6%5.31%
Direct PLUS Loans (Graduate and Parents)7.08%7.60%7%6.31%

[10]

What the rise in interest rates means for borrowers

The increase in the interest rates will increase the monthly loan payments by about 2.8%, assuming a 10-year repayment term. (For most borrowers that yields an increase of a few dollars a month.)[11]

Loan type10-year Treasury NoteIncrementCapFixed interest rate
Federal Stafford (Undergraduate)2.479%2.05%8.25%4.529%
Federal Stafford (Graduate)2.479%3.60%9.50%6.079%
Federal Parent PLUS2.479%4.60%10.50%7.079%
Federal Grad PLUS2.479%4.60%10.50%7.079%

[11]

Student debt default statistics

student loan debt statistics, student loan default; Statement for a Student Loan on a desktop. Loan is PAST DUE with a red rubber stamp. Props include reading glasses, coffee cup and pen. Horizontal photograph. PAST DUE is bright red against the white form. Shot from a high angle looking down. Dramatic lighting with some shadows.

  • 1 million borrowers default each year[8]
  • 40% of borrowers will default by 2023[9]

 

Sources:
[1] https://studentloanhero.com/student-loan-debt-statistics/

[2]https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2018/06/13/student-loan-debt-statistics-2018/#40d32cb67310

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student_loans_in_the_United_States

[4]https://research.collegeboard.org/trends/student-aid/highlights

[5] https://research.collegeboard.org/trends/college-pricing/figures-tables/average-published-charges-sector-over-time

[6] https://research.collegeboard.org/trends/college-pricing/resource-library

[7] https://www.accesslex.org/xblog/2017-2018-interest-rates-announced

[8] https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2018/10/01/student-loans-default/#3c2ed0eba066

[9]https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/13/twenty-two-percent-of-student-loan-borrowers-fall-into-default.html

[10] https://www.valuepenguin.com/student-loans/student-loan-interest-rates

[11]https://www.savingforcollege.com/article/interest-rates-on-federal-student-loans-increase-for-2019-2020

[12]https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/state-of-student-loan-debt/

[13]https://www.valuepenguin.com/student-loans/average-cost-of-college

[14]https://www.rasmussen.edu/student-experience/college-life/salary-by-state/#

[15]https://moneywise.com/a/lendedu-student-loan-default-rates-by-school-state

Article last modified on February 17, 2020. Published by Debt.com, LLC