Student loan debt in 2021 is now about $1.7 trillion.
The latest student loan debt statistics for 2021 show that there are 45 million borrowers who collectively owe nearly $1.7 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category — second only to mortgage debt and higher than debt for both credit cards and auto loans.
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted student loans. President Joe Biden paused federal student loan payments for eight months through September 30, 2021. This placed millions of borrowers into temporary student loan forbearance, which impacted student loan debt statistics. Congress and the White House are battling over student loan cancellation. Some progressive Democrats plan to cancel $50,000 of student loan debt, while Biden wants $10,000 of student loan cancellation. Biden has said he will not cancel $50,000 of student loans by executive order.
If you are a student loan borrower, the following student loan debt statistics can help you make more informed decisions regarding student loan refinancing, paying off student loans faster and student loan forgiveness.
Student Loan Statistics: Overview
Total Student Loan Debt: $1.71 trillion
Total U.S. Borrowers With Student Loan Debt: 45.3 million
MORE FOR YOU
Average Student Loan Debt: $37,691
Average Federal Student Loan Debt: $36,510
Student Loan Delinquency Rate: 11.1% (90+ days delinquent)
Direct Loans — Cumulative In Default: $122.2 billion (5.5 million borrowers)
Direct Loan In Forbearance: $887.4 billion borrowers (22.2 million borrowers)
(Source: Federal Reserve, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Educationdata.org, Federal Student Aid)
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Statistics
As of November 30, 2020, here are the latest public service student loan debt statistics:
Public Service Loan Forgiveness cumulative borrowers: 1,378,000
Borrowers who submitted applications: 227,382
Total number of applications: 296,340
Number of applications approved: 6,493
Number of applications denied: 263,118
% of applications denied due to payments that don’t qualify: 56%
% of applications denied due to missing information: 26%
Borrowers who have received student loan forgiveness: 3,776
Total dollar amount forgiven: $290.4 million
Average student loan balance forgiven: $76,906
(Source: U.S. Department of Education)
States With The Most Student Loan Debt
Not surprisingly, states with larger populations have higher aggregate student loan debt. California, Florida, Texas and New York are among the four highest states for total federal student loan debt outstanding among borrowers.
California, Florida, Texas and New York represent nearly 30% of all U.S. student loan borrowers. Collectively, borrowers in these states owe more than $440 billion of student loan debt.
High Student Loan Debt States & Low Student Loan Debt States
New Hampshire has the highest average student loan debt per student ($39,410) from the Class of 2019.
Utah has the lowest average student loan debt per student ($17,935) from the Class of 2019.
Student Loan Debt Per State
The following states have the highest average student loan debt per borrower:
1. Washington, D.C.: $52,983
2. Maryland: $42,592
3. Georgia: $41,256
4. Virginia: $38,903
5. Florida: $38,160
Distribution Of Student Loan Borrowers By Balance
More than 44 million student loan borrowers have student loan debt of $100,000 or less. More than 38 million student loan borrowers have student loan debt of $60,000 or less.
More than 3.0 million student loan borrowers have student loan debt greater than $100,000, with approximately 900,000 of that total holding student loan debt greater than $200,000.
The largest concentration of student loan debt is $20,000 – $40,000, which accounts for 9.6 million student loan borrowers.
Number Of Student Loan Borrowers By Age Group
Based on the federal student loan portfolio, the largest concentration of student loan borrowers is 25 to 34 years-old, followed by the 35-49 age group. There are 22.6 million student loan borrowers under the age of 34, with this group representing about half of all student loan borrowers. Strikingly, there are 2.3 million borrowers who are 62-years-old or older and collectively owe $86.8 billion.
Here is the breakdown of student loan borrowers by age:
< Age 24: $115.5 billion (7.8 million borrowers)
25 – 34: $500.5 billion (14.8 million borrowers)
35 – 49: $601.7 billion (14.2 million borrowers)
50 – 61: $262.2 billion (6.2 million borrowers)
> 62: $86.8 billion (2.3 million borrowers)
Student Loan Debt Outstanding By Student Loan Program
There are 36 million student loan borrowers who hold approximately $1.3 billion in Direct Loans. Another 11.0 million student loan borrowers hold $246 billion in Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL).
Direct Loans: $1,315.2 billion (35.9 million borrowers)
Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL): $245.9 billion (11.0 million borrowers)
Perkins Loans: $5.2 billion (1.7 million borrowers)
TOTAL: $1,566.3 billion
Student Loan Debt Outstanding By Student Loan Type
Stafford Subsidized: $285.7 billion (29.6 million borrowers)
Stafford Unsubsidized: $539.8 billion (29.2 million borrowers)
Stafford Combined: $825.5 billion (33.4 million unique borrowers)
Grad PLUS: $82.8 billion (1.5 million borrowers)
Parent PLUS: $100.8 billion (3.6 million borrowers)
Perkins: $5.2 billion (1.7 million borrowers)
Consolidation: $552.1 billion (11.5 million borrowers)
Student Loan Debt Statistics By Loan Status For Direct Loans
Approximately $887 billion in Direct Loans across 22.2 million student loan borrowers are in student loan forbearance as as result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Approximately 8.7 million student loan borrowers are in student loan deferment or student loan default.
Student Loans In School: $124.8 billion (6.7 million borrowers)
Student Loans In Repayment: $14.7 billion (0.4 million borrowers)
Student Loans In Deferment: $114.4 billion (3.2 million borrowers)
Student Loans in Forbearance: $887.4 billion borrowers (22.2 million borrowers)
Student Loans In Default: $122.2 billion (5.5 million borrowers)
Student Loans In Grace Period: $43.7 billion borrowers (1.7 million borrowers)
Student Loan Debt Statistics By Repayment Plan For Direct Loans
There are 10.7 million borrowers with $202.6 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 Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) at $191.6 billion and 3.2 million borrowers.
Level Repayment Plan (< 10 years): $202.6 billion (10.7 million borrowers)
Level Repayment Plan (> 10 years): $78.4 billion (1.7 million borrowers)
Graduated Repayment Plan (< 10 years): $93.4 billion (3.2 million borrowers)
Graduated Repayment Plan (> 10 years): $17.4 billion (0.4 million borrowers)
Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) Plan: $36.0 billion (0.8 million borrowers)
Income-Based Repayment (IBR) Plan: $173.0 billion (2.8 million borrowers)
Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Plan: $108.9 billion (1.5 million borrowers)
Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) Plan: $191.6 billion (3.2 million borrowers)
Student Loan Servicer By Loan Status
For Direct Loan and FFEL Loans owned by the U.S. Education Department, here is the breakdown by these select student loan servicers:
Other Important Student Loan Debt Statistics
In addition, there are several other statistics regarding the state of student loan debt:
- Nearly seven in 10 seniors (65%) who graduated from public and private non-profit colleges in 2018 had student loan debt.
- There are approximately 2.4 million borrowers who have private student loans.
- The average student loan debt at public colleges and universities is $30,030 (based on the average amount of borrowing to obtain a bachelor’s degree).
- The average student loan debt at non-profit private colleges and universities is $33,900 (based on the average amount of borrowing to obtain a bachelor’s degree).
- The average student loan debt at for-profit colleges and universities is $43,900 (based on average amount of borrowing to obtain a bachelor’s degree).
- Almost half (47%) of private loan borrowers borrowed less than they could have in federal Stafford loans for college.
- 17.7% of student loan borrower are under the age of 25.
- 68.6% of student loan borrowers are between 25 and 50 years old.
(Source for data includes: Institute For College Access and Success, National Student Loan Data System, U.S. Department of Education, Educationdata.org, Enterprise Data Warehouse, Mark Kantrowitz, Federal Student Aid and FedLoan Servicing).