National Student Loan Debt Statistics: 2019

Student looking at city with text: student loan debt statisticsYou hear quite a bit about student loan debt and the issues that arise from it here in the news. But have you ever had a chance to look at some of the statistics surrounding the money and debt involved? Here’s a quick rundown of some of the stats about Federal direct loans, private loans, and more.

Direct Federal Student Loan and Debt Stats

One of the most common student loans are direct loans from the government. These federal loans are offered to undergraduates who apply through FAFSA. Here are some interesting facts and stats about these loans:

  • There is $1.1503 trillion dollars in student loan debt that falls under direct loans

    • $277.5 billion of this is Stafford Subsidized

    • $469.6 billion falls under Stafford Unsubsidized

    • And $767.1 billion is a combination of the two

  • There are 34.2 million people who borrowed and owe money under direct federal student loans

    • 29.6 million owe on Stafford Subsidized loans

    • 28.7 million owe on Stafford Unsubsidized loans

    • And 33.1 million owe on both subsidized and unsubsidized loans

Private Student Loan and Debt Statistics

When federal loans won’t cover the full amount to college, many students turn to private loans. However, there are some interesting stats surrounding this loan type:

  • Over half of undergraduates don’t completely use their offered federal student loans and may borrow from private lenders before they need to.

  • Debt for private loans reached nearly $8 billion in 2014 to 2015.

    • This is an increase from just $5.2 billion in 2010 to 2011.

  • Interest rates for private loans can run high, and hit 14.24% in September 2018.

  • The average amount of private student loan debt (if that student took out a private loan) was $18,550.

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More Stats about Student Loans

There are plenty more stats about student loans out there, so here are a few interesting ones you should note:

  • 44 million borrowers owe, collectively, over $1.5 trillion in student loan debt.

  • 71% of college graduates have debt.

  • Average debt at graduation increased by 1% between 2016 and 2017

    • 2017’s average debt at graduation was $28,650.

  • Over 11% of students are delinquent or have defaulted on their loans.

    • $101.4 billion dollars are in default currently.

  • 41,221 borrowers applied for Public Service Loan Forgiveness

    • 423 were approved

  • California, Texas, and New York have the highest student loan balance

    • California tops the list with $111.7 billion dollars in student loans

    • New York is tied with Florida for number of borrowers (2.2 million)

These are just some of the interesting and surprising statistics that surround student loan debt, both federal and private, in recent years.

(Sources: FederalReserve.Gov Economic Well-Being of US Households Report &  Consumer Credit. US Department of Education.

How Do I Avoid Student Loan Debt?

The debt statistics are startling, to be sure. But instead of looking at them with dread, use them as a motivator. Ask yourself: how can I avoid becoming part of these dreary stats?

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to reduce your potential for student loan debt, or reduce the amount of debt you have to take on. It all starts with smart saving habits. Parents can start a 529 savings plan to prepare for their student’s future education.

If savings aren’t enough, or parents aren’t footing part of the bill, the next best thing is scholarships. Since they’re gifts of free money, scholarships don’t have to be paid back. There’s no limit to the amount of scholarships you can apply to, or the money you can earn from them (so long as it doesn’t exceed the cost of attendance). The more you earn in scholarships, the less you have to take out in loans—lowering your debt amount.

Federal work studies are another great option. Essentially, it’s a part time job where your paycheck funnels directly towards your college tuition and expenses.

How Do I Manage My Debt?

But for most students, scholarships and savings won’t cover the total cost of college. That’s where student loans come in. First step first: file the FAFSA. This will qualify you for federal students loans—which should always be your first pick. Federal loans tend to have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment plans compared to private loans.

If you do have to turn to private loans, the key is finding the right loan option, lender, and repayment plan. College Raptor can help you there. With our free Student Loan Finder, you can compare lenders and interest rates side by side and find the best loan fit for you.

Here are a number of ways you can manage your debt:

With plenty of research, a solid plan, and enough motivation, you can manage your student loan debt.

Use College Raptor to discover personalized college matches, cost estimates, acceptance odds, and potential financial aid for schools around the US—for FREE!


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