Must-Know Student Loan Debt Statistics [Current Data]

Highlights: Student Loan Debt Statistics

  • The total student loan debt in the U.S. reached $1.7 trillion in 2021.
  • Two in ten student loan borrowers are behind on their payments.
  • Almost 40% of borrowers could default on their student loans by 2023.
  • The average debt per graduate student is approximately $71,000.
  • The average debt at graduation in 2019 was $29,900.
  • Black college graduates owe an average of $25,000 more in student loan debt than White college graduates.
  • About 66% of graduates from public colleges had loans outstanding, with an average debt of $25,550.
  • About 3.0 million senior citizens in the U.S. are still carrying student loan debt.
  • Women hold nearly two-thirds of all student loan debt in the U.S.
  • As of 2020, the student loan debt to GDP ratio was 7.51%.
  • Nearly 6% of all student loan borrowers owed more than $100,000 in 2018.
  • Borrowers in the 35 to 49 age group have the highest total student loan debt, which sums up to approximately $600 billion.

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In the escalating landscape of higher education, the hindrance of student loan debt has reshaped the financial future of millions of Americans. In this blog post, we venture deep into the world of these debts, dissecting the latest student loan debt statistics to give you a clearer understanding of the magnitude of the issue. We will delve into the critical figures, observe trends, and explore how this borrowing epidemic impacts different segments of the population. Stick with us as we unfurl a comprehensive view of the financial beast college-goers are grappling with and its overarching implications on their financial health.

The Latest Student Loan Debt Statistics Unveiled

Approximately 43.2 million people in the U.S., or one-sixth of the U.S. population above the age of 18, have a student loan with an average balance of $39,351.

Unraveling the tale of student loan debt, the astonishing revelation of a whopping 43.2 million U.S. individuals, above 18 years, shouldering an average loan of $39,351, sheds light on the magnitude of this pressing issue. Equating to a staggering one-sixth of the U.S adult population, this statistic amplifies the enormous impact of student loan debt on both personal finances and the broader economy. It delineates the gravity of the debt crisis and serves as a pivotal point for further discourse, urging readers to engage with the blog post’s subsequent analysis and potential solutions for this nationwide issue.

The total student loan debt in the U.S. reached $1.7 trillion in 2021.

Painting an image with numbers, the soar of the U.S student loan debt to an astounding $1.7 trillion in 2021 forms the backbone of today’s discussion. Imagine, if you will, this monumental figure representing more than just numbers, but the dreams, hopes, and aspirations of millions of students seeking higher education. It’s an urgent call for concern, a financial echo bouncing off the walls of every educational institution that necessitates comprehensive examination. Within the lines of this blog post, we aim to dissect this statistical beast, mapping out its origins, its impact, and possible solutions for this undeniable problem touching every corner of the country.

Two in ten student loan borrowers are behind on their payments.

Delving into the world of student loan debt statistics, we stumble upon a rather alarming revelation. Picture an assembly of ten tirelessly studying loan borrowers, fervently pursuing their academic dreams. In this very group, there are two individuals wading through a sea of financial struggles, lagging behind on their payments. This statistic serves as a silent outcry, stressing the dire need to address student loan debt challenges and their repercussions.

The prevalence of this issue underscores the pervasive financial strain experienced by a sizable portion of students, potentially acting as a major impediment in their academic paths and life trajectories. Highlighting this figure not only sheds light on the immense adversity faced by our borrowers but also underscores the urgency to reconsider education financing policies and practices. Additionally, understanding this scenario enables stakeholders – students, policy makers, educators and lenders – to evaluate the sustainability of the current student loan system and spearhead necessary reforms. This statistic ultimately fuels the discourse around student loan debt, igniting conversations on the magnitude and implications of this issue.

Almost 40% of borrowers could default on their student loans by 2023.

Painting a somber portrait of the future of student loans, the impending gravity of about 40% of borrowers potentially defaulting by 2023 projects a startling landscape for financial health in America. This visualization ties directly into the core focus of the post, exploring the alarming rise in Student Loan Debt Statistics. It resonates as a potent alarm bell that emphasizes the scale and intensity of the debt crisis. The projection not only highlights the burden on individual borrowers, but also lays bare the broader economic implications such as credit score impacts, future borrowing ability, and potential hindrance to economic growth. From policy formation to personal finance decisions, this statistic casts a long shadow, demanding attention and fueling discussion around sustainable solutions to the student loan debt predicament.

The average debt per graduate student is approximately $71,000.

When delving into the realm of Student Loan Debt Statistics, one cannot overlook the gaping figure of approximately $71,000 – a chilling echo of the economic burden shouldered by average graduate students. This formidable amount strikes an immediate chord, setting the stage for a deep and nuanced exploration of the financial labyrinth faced by learners on their academic journey. Shedding light on this number not only amplifies the serious implications of such inflated debts, but also sparks a conversation about the potential long-term repercussions for both individual and national economies. Therefore, it serves as a significant touchstone in our exploration of student loan debt, acting as the mirror reflecting the pressing realities of today’s higher education landscape.

The average debt at graduation in 2019 was $29,900.

Shining a spotlight on the chilling figure of $29,900 as the average graduation debt in 2019 offers a perspective into the often daunting fiscal burden graduates are stepping into, fresh out of the academic sphere. This echoingly sizable figure gives our discussion on Student Loan Debt Statistics a sobering centerpiece, reminding readers of the tangible reality many fresh graduates grapple with, effectively transforming it into an immediate personal issue rather than a distant policy topic. It delineates the stark truth of our current educational investment paradigm, underscoring the need for comprehensive conversation and informed decision-making about student loans and their long-term implications.

Black college graduates owe an average of $25,000 more in student loan debt than White college graduates.

In the annals of student loan debt statistics, the glaring disparity between Black and White college graduates is a jarring testament to broader systemic inequities. This figure that Black college graduates owe $25,000 more on average than their White counterparts doesn’t just stand out, it leapt off the page. It offers a telling revelation into the depth and breadth of financial division. It underscores potential barriers to wealth accumulation and economic mobility that disproportionately impact the Black community, painting a comprehensive picture of student loan debt’s racial implications. It’s not just numbers, it’s a narrative, and one that weaves into the broader tapestry of social justice, civil rights, and education reform conversations.

About 66% of graduates from public colleges had loans outstanding, with an average debt of $25,550.

Delving deep into the heart of student loan debt statistics, one of this post’s key potent insights is the revelation that two thirds of graduates from public colleges are tethered to education-related financial obligations post-graduation. This compelling finding underscores the widespread prevalence of student debt, casting light onto the fiscal burdens of higher education.

Moreover, the spotlight shines brighter by identifying the magnitude of average debt dwelling at $25,550. This astounding figure not only offers a stark vision of individual student encounters but also amplifies the specter of the wider economic implications.

These statistics, combined, indeed become a critical touchstone directing the discourse on the multifaceted landscape of student loan debt, ultimately challenging us to rethink the cost and future of higher education.

About 3.0 million senior citizens in the U.S. are still carrying student loan debt.

Straddling the spotlight in the somber theater of student loan debt statistics is the fact that a staggering 3.0 million U.S. senior citizens still shoulder this burden. This intriguing piece of data warrants conversation, as it shatters the standard narrative that student debt is solely a millennial or Gen Z challenge. The reality of financial strain extends its shadow across generational lines, suggesting either continued payment struggles from their own education, or potential evidence of older citizens co-signing loans for their children or grandchildren. The anguish of student loan debt has been undeniably deafening, echoing across the age spectrum and bolstering the urgency and relevance of unpacking this issue more deeply in our blog post.

Women hold nearly two-thirds of all student loan debt in the U.S.

Highlighting the unequal distribution of student loan debt, especially where women bear a heavier burden, offers an intriguing twist to the narrative. It takes the conversation beyond mere numbers, painting a telling picture of financial and gender dynamics wrapped up in the discourse of higher education in the U.S. It’s akin to peeling back the layers of an onion, revealing a nuanced, often overlooked aspect that carries potential implications for policy-making, future trends in higher education, and broader economic repercussions.

As of 2020, the student loan debt to GDP ratio was 7.51%.

Delving into the compelling interplay between student loan debt and GDP, the figure of 7.51% emerges as a critical touchstone. Immersing ourselves in the narrative this data point paints, we come to realize, it’s not a solitary figure but a reflection of an entire economy. In the grand amphitheater of economic performance, where GDP is the protagonist, student loan debt dons the role of a significant character, having an influence that’s not negligible.

This 7.51% is the silhouette of an intricate dance between student loan and national income, revealing the crescendos and falls of an economy where educational pursuits intersect with financial dimensions. It sharply punctuates the mounting burden of student loans, sketching an image of an economy heavily shadowed by the specter of this debt. A portrait that elicits stronger reflections on the implications of our education financing systems in the face of an ever-dynamic economic landscape, while also fueling conversations around viable, sustainable solutions.

Nearly 6% of all student loan borrowers owed more than $100,000 in 2018.

Delving into the realm of student loan debt, one encounters striking figures that illustrate the magnitude of this pressing issue. The fact that almost 6% of all student loan borrowers found themselves grappling with debt exceeding $100,000 in 2018 provides a stark testament to the heightening severity of the student debt crisis. This notable figure serves as a vivid depiction of individual financial challenges and fuels discussions around policy changes and savvier financial planning. As such, it breathes life into the narrative surrounding Student Loan Debt Statistics, enlightening readers about the complexity and scale of this socioeconomic dilemma.

Borrowers in the 35 to 49 age group have the highest total student loan debt, which sums up to approximately $600 billion.

Highlighting the hefty sum of approximately $600 billion in student loan debt shouldered by individuals within the 35 to 49 age group serves as a glaring beacon in understanding the prominent issue of student loan debt. In the narrative of Student Loan Debt Statistics, this figure elucidates an intriguing paradox – one might expect younger age groups, closer to their graduation, to bear the brunt of such debts. Yet this fact challenges this assumption. Painting a vivid picture of an overlooked demographic, it underscores that student loan debt is not a fleeting burden carried only by those fresh out of college, but a long-term obligation that extends deep into adulthood and potentially impacts important life decisions like home ownership, starting a family or retirement savings. Thus, revealing surprising layers of complexity in the student loan debt crisis narrative.


In sum, the current student loan debt statistics paint a picture of a significantly ardent challenge facing not only millions of students, but also the entire economic fabric of the country. The figures we’ve discussed are both alarming and insightful, indicating the need for sweeping changes in our approach to higher education financing. A collective effort involving policymakers, educational institutions, and individuals is thus necessary to mitigate this rising crisis. Understanding these statistics is the first step in crafting meaningful solutions – because a society with educated citizens should not be a society burdened by crippling debt.


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What is the average student loan debt in the United States?

As of 2021, the average student loan debt in the United States is around $37,500 per borrower.

How many Americans have student loan debt?

Approximately 45 million Americans have some form of student loan debt.

What is the total amount of student loan debt in the United States?

Total U.S. student loan debt has reached nearly 1.7 trillion dollars.

What percentage of people default on their student loans?

According to federal statistics, about 10% of borrowers default within the first three years of repayment.

Which demographic group carries the most student loan debt?

As of the most recent statistics, women hold nearly two-thirds of the outstanding student loan debt in the United States.

How we write our statistic reports:

We have not conducted any studies ourselves. Our article provides a summary of all the statistics and studies available at the time of writing. We are solely presenting a summary, not expressing our own opinion. We have collected all statistics within our internal database. In some cases, we use Artificial Intelligence for formulating the statistics. The articles are updated regularly.

See our Editorial Process.

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