Student Loan Debt: Statistics and Frequently Asked Questions (2020)

The amount of student loan debt owed in the US continues to rise in 2019, exceeding $1.5 trillion at the end of 2018.   If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your own school loans, know you aren’t alone.  According to the federal reserve, there are close to 45 million Americans in the same situation.  With so many people impacted it’s important to stay informed.

With that in mind, here are some of the most frequently asked questions, statistics, and facts about student loan debt to help you stay educated and motivated.

student loan facts

Student loan debt facts and statistics

  1. That is the total amount of outstanding student loan debt in the United States. : $1,480,000,000,000
  2. That’s how much has gone into the financing of graduate and professional degrees.  : $400,000,000,000
  3. That’s how much money the Congressional Budget Office projected the Federal Government earned off student loans in 2013, which is 5 billion more than ExxonMobile. : $50,000,000,000
  4. This is the total number of Americans who have outstanding student loan debt. : 44,200,000
  5. The number of current student loan borrowers at the 2012 peak: 12,000,000
  6. The number of current student loan borrowers as of 2017: 9,000,000
  7. The number of borrowers who have defaulted as of 2015: 7,000,000
  8. Number of Borrowers enrolled in Public Service Loan Forgiveness Programs: 740,000
  9. The amount of debt owed by over 15% of undergraduate and graduate students: $100000
  10. The average amount of debt that students are leaving school with as of 2017: $34, 000
  11. The amount of debt behind most defaulted student loans: <$10,000
  12. How much student loan debt is accrued every second! : $3000
  13. The increase in student loan debt since 1999,  while incomes for young workers have decreased by 10% since the year 2000: 500%
  14. The average monthly payment for borrowers between 20 and 30 years old: $351
  15. The increase in college tuition costs since 1970, after adjusting for inflation: 275%
  16. The % increase in number of borrowers between 2004-2014: 90%
  17. The % increase in average balance size of borrowers between 2004-2014: 80%
  18. The % of students who graduate from four-year colleges with student loans: 71%
  19. The % of student loan borrowers who don’t understand the terms of their loans : 65%
  20. The surge in student loan debt over the past 10 years:  58%
  21. The % of adults under 30 with student loan debt: 40%
  22. The % of student loan borrowers who go delinquents with the first 5 years of repayment: 40%
  23. The % of college students who move back in with their parents after graduation: 27%
  24. The % of student loans are held privately: 15%
  25. The student loan delinquency rate going Into 2017: 11.2%
  26. The % of borrowers at least 90 days behind on payments: 10%
  27. The age that  half of the student loan borrowers are under: <25
  28. The one city with the highest average of student loan balances, Washington, D.C: 1
  29. The % of federally backed student loans that are currently able to be discharged by bankruptcy : 0%

General facts about student loan debt

Student loan debt by type

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Student loan debt by payment status

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Portfolio of student loan debt by the servicer

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As a percentage of national consumer debt

Student Loan Debt Frequently Asked Questions

How long before a student loan is written off?

How long before a student loan is written off?

What is the average student loan debt in the US?

What is the average student loan debt in 2018?

How many student loans are taken out each year?

Do student loans die with you?

How can I avoid paying student loans?

How long does it usually take to pay off student loans?

How long pay off student loans?

How much do you pay a month for student loans?

How much can a freshman borrow in student loans?

What is a good interest rate for student loans?

How much student debt does the average person have?

What is a good amount of student loan debt?

How can I avoid student loans?

How can I get money for college without loans?

How much money can you borrow for college?

How do you stop student loan debt?

Do student loans go away after 7 years?

How can I get rid of student loans fast?

How hard is it to pay off student loans?

Can you ever pay off student loans?

Why did my credit score drop when I paid off my student loan?

Is it easy to pay off student loans?

How do you get student loans forgiven?

What to do when you pay off your student loans?

How can I get money to pay off my student loans?

How long do you have to pay off student loans?

Can I get a loan to pay off student loans?

Can you use a scholarship to pay off student loans?

Are there programs to help pay off student loans?

Can you use Gofundme for student loans?

Will Navy pay off student loans?

Can I use the GI Bill to pay off student loans?

Are student loans forgiven if you join the military?

Does Air Force pay for student loans?

Does the Army pay off your student loans?

Can I use my husband’s GI Bill to pay student loans?

Does the Air Force pay for college?

Can I join the air force while in college?

Will the Air Force pay for nursing school?

Will the Air Force pay off my student loans?

Does the Air Force Reserves pay off student loans?

Will the Air Force pay for medical school?

Will the military pay for my wife student loans?

Do military spouses go to college for free?

How much do military spouses get for college?

Can military spouses get financial aid?

What benefits do military spouses get?

How much does the military pay for your college?

Can my husband transfer his GI Bill to me?

Can you pass your GI Bill to your child?

Can I transfer my GI bill to my brother?

Can my ex wife use my GI Bill?

Can I still use my GI Bill after 10 years?

How much does GI Bill pay for tuition?

What does the GI Bill pay for?

How do student loans affect your credit score?

average student loan debt by age

average student loan debt 2018

Wrapping up

You didn’t think I would end this post without giving some recommendation on what you can do to improve your situation, right?  No way!

There are a few personal finance basics you can do today to start addressing this debt.

  1. Get serious and figure out what is your motivation to get of debt.  Find your why!
  2. You need to figure out where your money is going ASAP, so you’ll need  to build a budget that works.  If you are having trouble sticking with your budget, try an all cash approach like the envelope system.
  3. Create a debt snowball plan and hit it hard.  List all your debts from smallest to largest, regardless of payment size or interest, and work the strategy!

Paying off your student loans won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

What other student debt facts have you found that are surprising?  Leave a comment below!

student debt facts

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