Author’s Note:

All over the internet and on every news station, you will either find or hear quite possibly one of the most quoted statistics in modern times. No, it isn’t the U.S. Government debt toll, but you aren’t too far off the mark!

Student loan debt. It’s one stat that is currently gripping the nation at a hefty $1.4+ trillion. It’s got plenty of people worried including students, graduates, parents, employers, and politicians alike. Well, it is not to be understated to say the least; in fact, it is the second leading form of debt in the United States behind mortgage debt (another monster to worry about elsewhere).

Student loan debt is a popular issue, to be sure, depending on your definition of popular, of course. As a news outlet, staying up-to-date on statistics is crucial just like any other industry. With that being said, here is my summarization of (and research for) reported student loan debt statistics. If you happen to have any questions about where these statistics come from or see something missing that might be a great addition, then feel free to contact me!


Overall Statistics

Before delving into the nitty-gritty details, it is best to give an overall snapshot of the current student loan debt situation. Here are a few statistics that will give you a better idea of where the nation stands with its second leading form of debt: 

· National Student Loan Debt - $1,407,200,000,000 ($1.41 trillion)

· Overall Number of Student Loan Borrowers44,179,100 (~70%of college students)

· Student Loan Default Rate10.7%

· Student Loan Delinquency Rate5.41%

· Average Debt per Student Borrower - $27,857

(Resource:​ Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax)

Federal Statistics

A significant portion, and majority, of outstanding student loans are supplied by the Federal government, or more specifically the Department of Education. There are various different types of loans available to anyone who fills out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Here is a comprehensive breakdown on funding and participation in Federal student aid programs.

Federal Funding Distribution by Loan Program

Loan ProgramOutstanding Debt (billions)Portion of Total DebtBorrowers (millions)Portion of Borrowers
Direct Loan$91272.2%30.561.0%
Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL)$34327.1%16.833.6%
Perkins Loan$8.000.63%2.705.40%

Federal Funding Distribution by Loan Type

Loan TypeOutstanding Debt (billions)Portion of Total DebtBorrowers (miilions)Portion of Borrowers
Subsidized Stafford$26721.1%28.938.5%
Unusbsidized Stafford$42433.6%27.136.1%
Grad PLUS$50.03.98%1.001.33%
Parent PLUS$74.55.90%3.304.40%
Student Loan Debt Statistics

Federal Distribution by Loan Payment Status

Direct Loans

Loan Repayment StatusOutstanding Debt (billions)Portion of Direct Loan DebtBorrowers (millions)Portion of Direct Loan Borrowers
Grace Period$42.64.67%1.704.93%
Student Loan Debt Statistics

Federal Family Education Loan​ (FFEL)

Loan Repayment StatusOutstanding Debt (billions)Portion of FFEL DebtBorrowers (millions)Portion of FFEL Borrowers
Grace Period$0.600.18%< 0.10< .01%
Student Loan Debt Statistics

Federal Repayment Plan Distribution

Direct Loans

Repayment PlanOutstanding Debt (billions)Portion of FFEL DebtBorrowers (millions)Portion of FFEL Borrowers
Level Repayment (<10 Years)$19829.4%11.351.6%
Level Repayment (>10 Years)$72.610.8%1.657.55%
Graduated Repayment (<10 Years)$69.210.3%2.6812.3%
Graduated Repayment (>10 Years)$12.81.90%0.281.28%
Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)$23.53.49%0.602.75%
Income-Based Repayment (IBR)$17425.9%3.1014.2%
Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Repayment$44.36.59%1.004.58%
Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)$26.94.00%0.572.61%
Alternate/Other Repayment$51.27.61%0.703.21%
Student Loan Debt Statistics

Federal Family Education Loan​

Repayment PlanOutstanding Debt (billions)Portion of FFEL DebtBorrowers (millions)Portion of FFEL Borrowers
Level Repayment (<10 Years)$31.449.0%2.8660.1%
Level Repayment (>10 Years)$2.483.87%0.081.58%
Graduated Repayment (<10 Years)$8.3113.0%0.6914.5%
Graduated Repayment (>10 Years)$0.010.00%<.01<.001%
Income-Sensitive Repayment (ISR)$0.080.12%<.01<.001%
Income-Based Repayment (IBR)$20.932.6%1.1223.5%
Alternate/Other Repayment$0.921.44%0.010.21%
Student Loan Debt Statistics

(Resource:​ Federal Student Loan Portfolio)

​Private Statistics

Private student loans are growing in popularity since reaching an all-time low in the academic years of 2010-2011. While federal student loans still eclipse private lending by a landslide, private alternatives are becoming more viable options for students as the dynamic market drives interest rates. In addition, many graduates take advantage of student loan refinancing and consolidation once they graduate to save on their private student loans.

· National Private Student Loan Debt - $7,764,000,000 ($7.76 billion)

· Number of Private Student Loan Borrowers - 1.37 million (~6% of borrowers)

· Private student loan debt is down 57.2% since the crisis in 2007-2008; however, total outstanding debt has increased by 49.4% since the all-time low in 2010-2011. (see table below)

Student Loan Debt Statistics

(Resources: The Institute for College Access & Success. Trends in Student Aid 2015 from The College Board.)

Graduate Statistics

· 40% of the overall student loan debt total is accounted for by graduate borrowers. ($563 billion)

· Six graduate programs account for 61.8% of graduate student loan debt.

Degree ProgramPortion of Grad Debt
Master of Science18.1%
Education Masters16.2%
Business Administration10.9%
Master of Arts7.70%
Student Loan Debt Statistics

(Resource: Trends in Student Aid 2014 from The College Board. National Postsecondary Student Aid Study)

Average Student Loan Debt Per Graduate by State

Many prospective college students assume that they have to deal with a hefty sum of student loan debt, and while the national average student loan debt per graduate supports this assumption, the state-by-state breakdown tells a much different story. Students who pick the right state can increase the chances of minimizing their student debt after graduation. Here are the overall state rankings in terms of average student loan debt per graduate.

RankStateAvg Debt Per Grad
1Utah $7,527
2Wyoming $10,434
3Nevada $11,038
4Lousiana $11,275
5Hawaii $11,792
6New Mexico $11,829
7Arizona $12,200
8Oklahoma $12,549
9California $12,554
10Florida $12,836
11Alabama $13,269
12Colorado $13,947
13North Carolina $14,057
14Washington $14,057
15Texas $14,469
16Alaska $14,544
17Maryland $14,744
18Arkansas $14,821
19Tennessee $14,898
20Montana $15,909
21Georgia $15,947
22Virginia $16,035
23Missouri $16,206
24Oregon $16,453
25North Dakota $16,610
RankStateAvg Debt Per Grad
26Vermont $16,908
27Maine $16,929
28Indiana $17,109
29Nebraska $17,181
30Kansas $17,313
31South Carolina $17,514
32Kentucky $17,591
33District of Columbia $17,603
34Mississippi $17,748
35Michigan $18,174
36Idaho $18,228
37Iowa $19,064
38New Jersey $19,242
39New York $19,317
40Illinois $19,374
41Ohio $19,495
42West Virginia $19,520
43Massachusetts $19,854
44Wisconsin $19,881
45Rhode Island $20,334
46South Dakota $21,298
47Minnesota $21,744
48Connecticut $21,805
49Pennsylvania $24,172
50New Hampshire $25,740