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2018 Student Loan Debt Statistics

44.5 million student loan borrowers in the U.S. owe a total of $1.5 trillion. The average college graduate with a bachelor’s degree left school with $28,446 in student debt in 2016.
Sept. 27, 2018
Loans, Student Loans
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The average college graduate with a bachelor’s degree left school with $28,446 in student debt in 2016, according to data from the Institute for College Access & Success. There are 44.5 million student loan borrowers in the U.S., and they owe a collective $1.5 trillion as of March 2018, according to the Federal Reserve.

Here are the key statistics to know about student loans: who has them, what borrowers owe, and when they’ll get paid off.

National student loan debt

  • Total federal student loan borrowers: 44.5 million
  • Total outstanding federal student loan debt: $1.5 trillion

Source: Federal Student Aid, Q1 2018

  • Total outstanding private student loan debt: $64.2 billion
  • Percentage of total outstanding student loan debt that is private debt: 7.65%

Source: MeasureOne Private Student Loan Report, Q3 2017

  • Percentage of Americans with student loan debt who are under 30: 37.5%
  • Percentage of Americans with student loan debt who are 30 or older: 62.5%

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 2018

Student loan repayment status

  • Number of federal loan borrowers with loans in deferment: 3.3 million
  • Number of federal loan borrowers with loans in forbearance: 2.6 million
  • Number of federal loan borrowers with loans in default: 4.7 million

Source: Federal Student Aid, Q1 2018

  • Percentage of private loans in repayment that are in deferment: 18.27%
  • Percentage of private loans in repayment that are in forbearance: 2.88%
  • Percentage of private loans in repayment that are 90+ days past due: 1.59%

Source: MeasureOne Private Student Loan Report, Q3 2017

  • Number of federal loan borrowers on an income-driven repayment plan: 6.73 million
  • Number of federal loan borrowers on income-based repayment: 2.91 million
  • Number of federal loan borrowers on Revised Pay As You Earn: 2 million
  • Number of federal loan borrowers on Pay As You Earn: 1.19 million
  • Number of federal loan borrowers on income-contingent repayment: 630,000

Source: Federal Student Aid, Q1 2018

NerdWallet analysis: FAFSA completion

  • Percent of all high school graduates from the class of 2017 who did not fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid: 36%
  • Average amount each Pell Grant-eligible graduate left on the table by not completing the FAFSA: $3,583
  • Total amount the class of 2017 left on the table by not completing the FAFSA: $2.3 billion

Source: NerdWallet/Florida College Access Network, October 2017

NerdWallet analysis: Class of 2018 money outlook

  • Percentage of recent graduates with student debt: 45%
  • Percentage of recent graduates with student debt who believe they’ll be able to pay it off in 10 years: 39%
  • Age at which graduates of the Class of 2018 can expect to retire: 72
  • Age at which the Class of 2018 can expect to purchase their first home with a 20% down payment: 36

Source: NerdWallet/Harris Poll, May 2018

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