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 been 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 why so many people face payments they can’t make and defaulted debt that can’t easily 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!

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 26% of undergraduates took federal student loans in 2020-2021.[4]
  • From 2020-2021, 4% of undergraduate students borrowed subsidized loans only, 5% borrowed unsubsidized loans only, and 16% borrowed from both programs.[4]
  • Nearly 6 in 10 seniors (55%) who graduated from public and non-profit colleges in 2019-2020 had student loan debt; averaging at $28,400.[4]

General student loan debt statistics

Federal loans:

  • The national student loan debt hovers at $1.71 trillion[1]
  • The average student in the Class of 2021 graduated with $29,500 in student loan debt[2]
  • Number of Federal student loans guaranteed or held by the federal government by the end of 2020 — over $1.5 trillion [1]
  • Average monthly student loan payment is estimated at $460 (2021)[3]
  • Total number of borrowers with federal student loans — 44.7 million [1]
  • Among the States, total outstanding borrowers from California, Florida, Texas, and New York represent nearly 30% of the entire U.S. student loan borrowers. Collectively borrowers in these states owe more than $440 billion in student loan debt.[1]

The highs and lows of paying for school

For the 2020-2021 academic school year:

  • Average tuition and fee prices at a public four-year institution (in-state) — $10,740[5]
  • Average tuition and fee prices at public two-year institutions (in-district) — $3,800[5]
  • Average tuition and fee prices at a private nonprofit four-year institution – $38,070[5]

By State:

Alabama Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt[12]: $19,874
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State)[13]: $10,323
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State)[13]: $26,517
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living[14]: $38,513
  • Student Loan Default Rate[12]: 12.2%

Alaska Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,278
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,297
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $26,767
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $34,830
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11.8%

Arizona Student Loan Debt 

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,269
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $11,072
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $27,417
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $36,351
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 12.1%

Arkansas Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,226
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,689
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $21,460
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $38,961
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 12.6%

California Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $17,973
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,192
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $32,177
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $33,076
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.7%

Colorado Student Loan Debt 

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $20,555
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,144
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $30,773
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $41,145
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.2%

Connecticut Student Loan Debt 

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $20,169
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $13,886
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $35,197
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $42,825
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 7.9%

Delaware Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $21,178
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $11,091
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $31,582
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $37,241
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.2%

Florida Student Loan Debt 

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $20,198
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $4,463
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $18,514
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $32,701
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11.3%

Georgia Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $22,748
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $7,457
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $23,167
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $34,564
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11.7%

Hawaii Student Loan Debt 

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,824
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $10,109
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $31,774
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $33,689
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.4%

Idaho Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,378
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $7,518
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $24,845
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $40,377
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 8.9%

Illinois Student Loan Debt 

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $20,458
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $14,455
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $29,515
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $41,106
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.4%

Indiana Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $19,159
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,268
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $29,533
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $42,842
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11.8%

Iowa Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $17,738
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,373
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $27,346
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $40,919
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.1%

Kansas Student Loan Debt 

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,402
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,088
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $23,745
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $41,681
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11.5%

Kentucky Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,939
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $10,888
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $26,048
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $36,613
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 12.4%

Louisiana Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,055
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,571
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $22,128
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $36,723
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 12.8%

Maine Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,927
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $10,103
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $28,523
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $36,199
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 7.8%

Maryland Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $23,725
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,714
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $27,984
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $45,575
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.8%

Massachusetts Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $20,431
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $13,729
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $31,894
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $40,770
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 6.6%

Michigan Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $20,377
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $13,315
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $36,832
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $40,310
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11.8%

Minnesota Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $19,554
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $11,748
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $24,442
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $46,684
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 6.9%

Mississippi Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,906
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,604
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $19,402
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $30,749
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 14.1%

Missouri Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $20,163
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,992
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $20,877
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $39,772
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11%

 Montana Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $17,380
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $6,967
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $25,239
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $36,367
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 10.2%

 Nebraska Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $17,996
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,582
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $22,152
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $44,693
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 6.4%

Nevada Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $16,290
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $6,023
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $21,678
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $41,068
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 14.1%

New Hampshire Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $20,990
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $16,679
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $30,594
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $38,802
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 7.3%

New Jersey Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $21,179
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $14,360
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $29,435
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $38,795
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 8.2%

 New Mexico Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,175
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $7,152
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $19,181
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $33,476
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 13.4%

New York Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $20,830
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,467
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $22,669
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $34,394
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 8.8%

North Carolina Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $21,510
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $7,228
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $23,357
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $38,168
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 10.3%

North Dakota Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $16,824
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,628
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $13,936
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $46,473
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 7.9%

 Ohio Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $20,919
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $9,902
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $24,830
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $40,727
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 10.8%

Oklahoma Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $17,286
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,009
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $21,695
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $41,284
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 14.3%

Oregon Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $21,033
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $10,813
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $32,068
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $37,358
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 10.3%

Pennsylvania Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $21,772
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $15,565
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $30,222
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $39,176
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9.8%

Rhode Island Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,993
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $13,105
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $30,871
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $39,285
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 9%

South Carolina Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $21,523
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $12,497
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $32,853
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $40,438
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 12.2%

South Dakota Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,249
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,978
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $12,866
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $43,428
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 6.3%

Tennessee Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $19,683
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $10,164
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $24,786
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $36,854
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 12%

Texas Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,036
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,598
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $24,889
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $37,202
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 11%

Utah Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $16,096
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $6,700
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $21,273
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $40,517
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 8.8%

Vermont Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $22,004
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $17,083
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $41,057
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $38,857
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 6.2%

Virginia Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $21,866
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $13,655
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $35,831
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $42,407
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 8.8%

Washington Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,684
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $7,168
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $30,155
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $39,668
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 8.5%

West Virginia Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $18,396
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,195
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $22,242
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $34,601
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 12.8%

Wisconsin Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $17,573
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $8,764
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $25,522
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $42,449
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 8.1%

Wyoming Student Loan Debt

  • Median Student Loan Debt: $15,256
  • Average Public University Tuition (In-State): $4,747
  • Average Public University Tuition (Out-of-State): $14,803
  • Median Income Adjusted for Cost of Living: $41,674
  • Student Loan Default Rate: 8.1%

Student loan interest rate statistics

Loan Type 2019-2020 Rate 2018-19 Rate 2017-18 Rate 2016-17 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 type 10-year Treasury Note Increment Cap Fixed 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 PLUS 2.479% 4.60% 10.50% 7.079%
Federal Grad PLUS 2.479% 4.60% 10.50% 7.079%

[11]

Student debt default statistics

 

  • 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/2021/02/20/student-loan-debt-statistics-in-2021-a-record-17-trillion/?sh=363b7b381431

[3]https://educationdata.org/average-student-loan-payment

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

[5]https://research.collegeboard.org/pdf/trends-college-pricing-student-aid-2021.pdf

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

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

[8]https://educationdata.org/student-loan-default-rate

[9]https://www.ncsl.org/Portals/1/Documents/educ/Student-Loans-And-Debt_v02.pdf

[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://apps.urban.org/features/debt-interactive-map/?type=overall&variable=pct_debt_collections

[13]https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d20/tables/dt20_330.20.asp

[14]https://flowingdata.com/2021/03/25/income-in-each-state-adjusted-for-cost-of-living/

Article last modified on April 5, 2022. Published by Debt.com, LLC