Student Loan Debt Statistics for 2017 Show Americans Are Burdened With Record Breaking Student Loan Debt 

Student loan debt statistics show 44 million Americans owe over $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. The total debt is also more than double the $620 billion Americans owe on credit card debt.

A Class of 2016 graduate has roughly $37,172 in student loan debt. This is a six percent increase from last year.

General Student Loan Debt Facts

First of all, let’s start with a general picture of the student loan debt landscape. The most recent reports indicate there is:

  • $1.44 trillion in total U.S. student loan debt
  • 44.2 million Americans with student loan debt
  • Student loan delinquency rate of 11.2% (90+ days delinquent or in default)
  • Average monthly student loan payment (for borrower aged 20 to 30 years): $351
  • Median monthly student loan payment (for borrower aged 20 to 30 years): $203

(Data via, herehere and here and here)

Federal Student Loan Portfolio

When you break down the debt student loan borrowers carry by loan type, term, and more, the numbers are staggering. These numbers were updated by the United States Department of Education at the end of the second quarter of 2017.

Student Loan Debt Statistics By Loan Program:

Direct Loans$1,003.3 billion32.1 million borrowers
FFEL Loans$320.5 billion15.7 million borrowers
Perkins Loans$7.9 billion2.6 million borrowers
Total (All Federal)$1,331.7 billion42.3 million borrowers

Student Loan Debt Statistics By Loan Type:

Stafford Subsidized$272.5 billion29.4 million borrowers
Stafford Unsubsidized$449.6 billion27.9 million borrowers
Stafford combined$722.2 billion32.6 million unique recipients
Grad PLUS$55.7 billion1.1 million borrowers
Parent PLUS$81.5 billion3.4 million borrowers
Perkins$7.9 billion2.6 million borrowers
Consolidation$464.5 billion12.0 million borrowers

Data via

Student Loan Debt Statistics By Loan Status (Direct Loan Program)

Loans in repayment$535.6 billion16.6 million borrowers
Loans in deferment$112.9 billion3.6 million borrowers
Loans in forbearance$100.1 billion2.6 million borrowers
Loans in default$74.9 billion4.3 million borrowers
Loans in grace period$26.2 billion1.4 million borrowers

Student Loan Debt Statistics By Repayment Plan (Direct Loan Program)

Level Repayment Plan(10 years or less)$199.6 billion11.15 million borrowers
Level Repayment Plan(greater than 10 years)$74.9 billion1.68 million borrowers
Graduated repayment plan(10 years or less)$75.4 billion2.83 million borrowers
Graduated repayment plan(greater than 10 years)$13.6 billion0.29 million borrowers
Income-Contingent (ICR)$25.5 billion0.61 million borrowers
Income-Based (IBR)$171.6 billion3.01 million borrowers
Pay As You Earn (PAYE)$56.1 billion1.10 million borrowers
Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)$77.0 billion1.52 million borrowers

Student Loan Debt By Servicer

(updated on June 30, 2016)

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More Shocking Student Loan Debt Statistics

Student loan debt based on the type of school borrowers attend is also even more staggering. Most noteworthy is that a whopping 71% percent of students graduating from four-year colleges and universities in 2012 had student loan debt:

  • Represents 1.3 million students graduating with debt, increase from 1.1 million in 2008
  • 66 percent of graduates from public colleges had loans (average debt of $25,550)
  • 75 percent of graduates from private nonprofit colleges had loans (average debt of $32,300)
  • 88 percent of graduates from for-profit colleges had loans (average debt of $39,950)

In addition, 20% of 2012 graduate loans were private.

Graduates who received Pell Grants were also likely to borrow, and borrow more:

  • 88 percent of graduates who received Pell Grants had student loans in 2012, with an average balance of $31,200
  • 53 percent of those who didn’t receive a Pell Grant had student loan debt and borrowed $4,750 less ($26,450)

(Data via

Private Student Loan Debt Statistics

Private student loan debt is also on the rise with nearly $6.2 billion was borrowed in 2012-2013. Consequently, this has also increased the dollar amount of overall debt by $5.5 billion in 2011-2012.

It seems like borrowers didn’t take advantage of federal student loans as much as they could have in the 2011-2012 school year.

Statistics show also show only 19% didn’t take out Stafford loans and nearly 8% didn’t apply for federal financial aid. They also show only 11% applied for federal aid but didn’t take out a Stafford loan and 28% had Stafford loans but borrowed less than they were eligible for.

In addition, 48% of private loan borrowers attended schools but had tuition costs of $10,000 or less for 2011-2012.

Furthermore, nearly 1.4 million undergraduates borrowed private loans in 2011-2012

(Data via

Graduate Student Loan Debt

Furthermore, about 40 percent of the $1 trillion student loan debt was used to finance graduate and professional degrees.

Combined undergraduate and graduate debt by degree:

  • MBA = $42,000 (11% of graduate degrees)
  • MA. Ed. = $50,879 (16%)
  • M.S. = $50,400 (18%)
  • M.A. = $58,539 (8%)
  • Law = $140,616 (4%)
  • Medicine and health sciences = $161,772 (5%)

Consequently, as these student loan debt statistics show, the cost of attending college is becoming a growing burden for a huge portion of Americans.

(Data via 2012 study)

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