Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category – behind only mortgage debt – and higher than both credit cards and auto loans.
According to Make Lemonade, there are more than 44 million borrowers with $1.3 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. alone. The average student in the Class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt.
The latest student loan debt statistics for 2017 show how serious the student loan debt crisis has become – for borrowers across all demographics and age groups.
If you are a student loan borrower, the following student loan debt statistics can help you make more informed decisions regarding student loan refinance, student loan consolidation, student loan repayment and student forgiveness.
Student Loan Statistics: Overview
(As of 4Q 2016, New York Federal Reserve)
Total Student Loan Debt: $1.31 trillion
Total U.S. Borrowers With Student Loan Debt: 44.2 million
Student Loan Delinquency Or Default Rate: 11.2%
Total Increase In Student Loan Debt In 4Q2016: $31 billion
New Delinquent Balances (30+ days): $32.6 billion
New Delinquent Balances – Seriously Delinquent (90+ days): $31 billion
High Student Loan Debt States & Low Student Loan Debt States
New Hampshire has the highest average student loan debt per student ($36,101) from the Class of 2015.
Utah has the lowest average student loan debt per student ($18,873) from the Class of 2015.
In the U.S., the average student loan debt per capita is $4,920. Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan have among the highest student loan debt per capita in the nation.
New York: $5,570
Distribution Of Student Loan Borrowers By Balance
As of 2015, more than 42 million student loan borrowers have student loan debt of $100,000 or less. More than 2 million student loan borrowers have student loan debt greater than $100,000, with 415,000 of that total holding student loan debt greater than $200,000. The largest concentration of student loan debt is $10,000 – $25,000, which accounts for 12.4 million student loan borrowers.
Over the past five years, student loan debt balances have grown across each age category. On a percentage basis, the largest increase in student loan debt has come from a surprising age group: 60 to 69-year-olds, who have experienced an 89.6% increase in student loan debt. However, on a dollar basis, this age group represents a $31.5 billion increase over the same period, which is the lowest increase among all age groups. On a dollar basis, the highest increase in student loan debt is among 30 to 39-year-olds, who as a group now hold over $408 billion in student loans.
The largest concentration of student loan borrowers is under 30-year-old, followed by the 30-39 age group. Therefore, there are 29.4 million student loan borrowers under the age of 39, with this group representing 67% of all student loan borrowers.
Over 31 million student loan borrowers hold approximately $1.0 billion in Direct Loans. Another 16.4 million student loan borrowers hold $335 billion in Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL).
Direct Loans: $949.5 billion (31.5 million borrowers)
Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL): $335.2 billion (16.4 million borrowers)
Perkins Loans: $7.9 billion (2.7 million borrowers)
TOTAL: $1,292.2 billion (42.3 million borrowers)
Student Loan Debt Outstanding By Student Loan Type
Stafford Subsidized: $270.1 billion (29.5 million borrowers)
Stafford Unsubsidized: $436.1 billion (27.8 million borrowers)
Stafford Combined: $706.2 billion (32.6 million unique borrowers)
Grad PLUS: $53.0 billion (1.1 million borrowers)
Parent PLUS: $77.8 billion (3.5 million borrowers)
Perkins: $7.9 billion (2.7 million borrowers)
Consolidation: $447.3 billion (12 million borrowers)
Student Loan Debt Statistics By Loan Status For Direct Loans
Approximately $479 billion in Direct Loans across 15.7 million student loan borrowers are in student loan repayment. Approximately 10 million student loan borrowers are in student loan deferment, student loan forbearance or student loan default.
Student Loans In Repayment: $478.6 billion (15.7 million borrowers)
Student Loans In Deferment: $107.3 billion (3.5 million borrowers)
Student Loans in Forbearance: $96.2 billion borrowers (2.6 million borrowers)
Student Loans In Default: $67.5 billion (4.0 million borrowers)
Student Loans In Grace Period: $50.1 billion borrowers (2.0 million borrowers)
Student Loan Debt Statistics By Repayment Plan For Direct Loans
There are 11 million borrowers with $188.9 billion of student loan debt in the Level Student Loan Repayment Plan (student loan repayment in 10 years or less), which represents the largest concentration of borrowers in student loan repayment. The second most concentrated group of borrowers is enrolled in Income-Based Repayment (IBR) at $173.1 billion and 3.1 million borrowers.
Level Repayment Plan (< 10 years): $188.9 billion (11.0 million borrowers)
Level Repayment Plan (> 10 years): $72.5 billion (1.7 million borrowers)
Graduated Repayment Plan (< 10 years): $70.1 billion (2.7 million borrowers)
Graduated Repayment Plan (> 10 years): $12.9 billion (0.3 million borrowers)
Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan: $23.5 billion (0.6 million borrowers)
Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan: $173.1 billion (3.1 million borrowers)
Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Plan: $46.7 billion (1.0 million borrowers)
Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Plan: $43.6 billion (0.9 million borrowers)
Servicer Portfolio By Loan Status
As of September 30, 2016, AES/PHEAA (otherwise known as FedLoan Servicing) and Navient service the largest portfolios of student loans in repayment in the U.S.. FedLoan Servicing is the largest servicer of federal direct and Federal Family Education Loans. The most popular student loan repayment plan is the Level Repayment Plan, which means student loan repayment in less than 10 years, followed by Income-Based Repayment (IBR).
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) sued Navient last month, and alleged that, among other allegations, Navient “systematically and illegally [failed] borrowers at every stage of [student loan] repayment.”
Other Important Student Loan Debt Statistics
According to The Institute for College Access and Success:
- Nearly seven in 10 seniors (68%) who graduated from public and non-profit colleges in 2015 had student loan debt.
- Almost half (47%) of private loan borrowers in 2011-12 borrowed less than they could have in federal Stafford loans for college.
- While private loan volume peaked at $18.1 billion in 2007-2008, private loan volume is now $7.8 billion as of 2014-2015.
- 6% of all undergraduates – 1,373,000 students – borrowed private loans in 2011-12.
Student Loan Forgiveness
Student loan forgiveness comes in several forms. Two of the most popular types of student loan forgiveness are Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Student Loan Forgiveness.
As of September 30, 2016, there are 494,200 cumulative Public Service Loan Forgiveness borrowers.
While the first borrower for Public Service Loan Forgiveness will be eligible for the program starting in October 2017, FedLoan Servicing has tracked the number of borrowers who have self-identified as interested in Public Student Loan Forgiveness based on their (annual) submission of an employment certification form.
Since 2012, 740,872 employment certification forms have been approved and 372,422 have been denied.
(The above student loan debt statistics include data from The New York Federal Reserve, The Institute For College Access and Success, National Student Loan Data System, Federal Student Aid and FedLoan Servicing)