Stunning Student Loan Debt Estimates For The 2023: What Type Of Debt Is A Student Loan?

Student loan debt is still a concern for Americans in 2023.

55 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients in the class of 2020 ended up taking out student loans, finishing with an average debt of $28,400 in federal and private loans.

And, according to the most recent data available, 14 percent of parents with students in the class of 2019 borrowed an aggregate of $37,200 in federal parent PLUS loans.

There are, however, more alarming student loan debt figures. Roughly $1.75 trillion in student loan debt has been accumulated by nearly 46 million people in the United States. That’s nearly $440 billion greater than the total amount owed on vehicle loans in the United States.

This page examines the most recent data on student loan debt. If eligible borrowers want to have more control over their finances, they should explore refinancing their student loans, as long as they evaluate the drawbacks.

(Federal Reserve, CollegeBoard, and Saving for College provided data.)

Stats on student loan debt

Let’s begin with a broad overview of the student loan situation. The following are some of the most recent statistics:

  • The overall amount of student loan debt in the United States is nearly $1.75 trillion.
  • A total of 46 million Americans are in debt due to student loans (45.4 million of whom have federal debt).
  • Before the coronavirus epidemic, 11.1 percent of student loans were 90 days or longer overdue or in default (defaults were halted as part of the crisis relief measures).
  • Before the White House implemented the repayment freeze, the typical monthly debt payment was $300. (the suspension is in place through Aug. 31, 2022).
  • (Federal Reserve, CollegeBoard, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and LendingTree data.)

Data on Loan Forgiveness in the Public Sector (As of the latest available data from September 2021)

Borrowers in the PSLF: 1,318,076

* The number of borrowers who filed for forgiveness was 535,940. (versus 179,371 as of September 2020)

PSLF was awarded to 10,776 borrowers (versus 3,469 as of September 2020)

Average amount forgiven: $94,907 (compared to $75,090 in September 2020).

* Total number of borrowers with one or more PSLF employment certification forms that have been authorized

(Note: Borrowers are self-identified based on the submission of certification forms.) Federal Student Aid is the source of this information.)

Portfolio of Federal Student Loans

(This page has been updated for September 2021.) (The tab image mentioned on this website has all the stats

Let’s look at how much debt student loan debtors have depending on the loan type, term, and other factors.

Student loan debt stats that are even more alarming

If those figures weren’t impressive enough, consider how students amass debt depending on the type of institution they attend:

  • In 2020, 55 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients from 4 year governmental and private charitable universities will have debt from student loans.
  • In 2020, the average debt from 4-year governmental and nongovernmental charitable institutions was $28,400, down $400 from 2019.
  • According to 2016 data from an April 2019 report — the most recent available — 66 percent of graduates from public universities have debt (borrowing an average of $26,900).
  • In 2016, 68 percent of graduates from private, charitable universities took out loans, averaging $31,450.
  • In 2016, 83 percent of for-profit college graduates had debt (borrowing an average of $39,900).
  • In the 2020-2021 academic year, students and parents acquired an estimated $95.9 billion, with private and other non-federal loans accounting for 13% of the total.

In comparison to 12 percent of public college students and 14 percent of charitable college students, 48 percent of debtors who attended for-profit universities default within 12 years.

(See here and here for data from CollegeBoard and the Institute for College Access and Success.)

Stats on Private Student Loan Debt

  • Private student lenders are owed more than $136 billion to Americans.
  • In the academic year 2020-2021, the total amount of private student loan debt was anticipated to be $12 billion.
  • During the 2020-2021 educational year, someone else cosigned 90 percent of undergraduate and 63 percent of graduate private loans.
  • Over 50 percent of undergraduates (53%) do not fully utilize federal student loans, instead opting for private loans before exhausting their federal options.
  • Private student loans accounted for 16% of student loans in the 2019 class.
  • In 2019, the average interest rate on cosigned private loans was 10.20%.
  • (Information courtesy of the Institute for College Access and Success (here and here), CollegeBoard, and MeasureOne.)

Student Loan Debt

Image credits: Pexels

Further Student Loans

Student loans are intended to pay only a portion of educational expenses. Many students loan money from other sources to meet living expenses throughout their college years and perhaps other institution-related expenses that are not supported by their student loans.

  • A balance on a student loan is owned by 95% of borrowers with outstanding debt connected to their own education.
  • A credit card balance is held by 23% of debtors with existing educational debt.
  • A home equity loan was used by 4% of indebted borrowers, while 11 percent used another sort of loan.
  • Home equity loans were used by 11% of indebted people who borrowed to pay for their offspring’s or grandchild’s education.

Student Debt Statistics

Student Loan Debt by State and Graduation Year are included in detailed demographic reports.

  • Financial independence is achieved by 49.2 percent of student aid recipients.
  • 24.4 percent of student financial aid recipients live with their parents, while 14 percent reside in school-owned housing.
  • 15% of students who receive financial aid are married.
  • 3.3 million borrowers under the age of 40 are delinquent on their student loans, accounting for 15.1 percent of all borrowers.
  • 338,608, or 17%, of student borrowers under the age of 25 are delinquent on their student loans.
  • Gender or Sex Differences in Student Loan Debt
  • Females account for 56.5 percent of student financial aid beneficiaries.
  • Women are responsible for 58 percent of all student loan debt.
  • Male students’ parents are likely to borrow money on their behalf.
  • Undergraduate student loan debt affects 16% of women.
  • Women account for 8% of all postgraduate student debt.

Read our report on Student Loan Debt by Gender for more information.

Race and Ethnicity Differences in Student Loan Debt

  • Black college students are by far the most inclined to take out federal loans (49.4%), while Asian students are the least able (62%) to take out federal loans.
  • In the first twelve years of repayment, 30% of black degree holders default on their student loans.
  • White students are the most likely to take out private loans, with 7.1 percent doing so; American Indian and Alaska Native students, on the other hand, are the least inclined to take out private loans, with only 2.6 percent doing so.
  • After four years, 48 percent of Black graduates retain an average of 12.5 percent more than they acquired.
  • White and Caucasian debtors are responsible for 54% of all student loan debt.

Read our report on Student Loan Debt by Race for additional information.

Debt from Student Loans by Age

  • Every five years, debtors above the age of 60 add 50% to their age group’s student debt.
  • The average outstanding student loan debt for 35-year-olds is $42,600 per borrower, with an ultimate total of 287 percent of the original loan value.
  • 77.2 percent of help beneficiaries are under 30 years old, and 37.8% of aid recipients are full-time students.
  • Under the age of 25, 17.7% of those with student loan debt are under the age of 25.
  • Between the ages of 25 and 50, 68.6% of indebted student borrowers are.
  • Student loan debt affects 34% of adults aged 18 to 29, placing them more than double as likely as adults of any other age bracket to have debt.
  • With a rate of 63 percent among borrowers under 40 years old, Black borrowers are second-most inclined to be timely with their student loan payments.
  • With a percentage of 26%, the same demographic segment is prone to lag on student loan payments.

Read our report on Student Loan Debt by Age for additional information.

Educational Attainment and Student Loan Debt

  • Graduate students take out 37% of all federal student loans.
  • A total of $16,940 in federal loans is outstanding by 60 percent of undergraduate credential recipients.
  • An aggregate of $21,890 in federal loans is outstanding by 42 percent of associate’s degree recipients.
  • A total of $31,790 in federal loans is outstanding by 63 percent of bachelor’s degree holders.
  • A total of $70,070 in federal loans is outstanding by 54 percent of master’s degree holders.
  • An estimate of $118,360 is owned by 45 percent of Ph.D. degree recipients.
  • Professional people with degrees owe an approx of $199,540 on average.

Debt Stagnation: What Can Be Done?

  • Exploitative private lenders targeted undergraduates with bad loans, just as they did homebuyers, prior to the Great Recession of 2008. 
  • These loan tactics were disproportionately used by for-profit institutions that enrolled low-income pupils. 
  • In 2009, 27.15 percent of private loans were uncertified by schools. 
  • By 2019, only 0.06 percent of private loans had been certified by a school. Since then, these loans have been limited to prime clients with excellent credit scores.
  • Some of the growth in the combined student loan total can almost certainly be ascribed to debts beginning during the substandard student loan era. For years to come, the economic implications of this form of predatory lending will most likely be visible in data trends.

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Experience with Student Debt

Even when loan distribution is equal, student loan debt experience differs depending on important contributors.

  • Students who had taken on student loan debt felt it was not worth it in 52 percent of cases.
  • Payments on student loans are increasing at a 6.6 percent annual rate.
  • Because of their student loan debt, 53% of millennials have not purchased a home because they are either ineligible or unable to pay a mortgage.
  • In 2018, 30% of college students were living on or around the poverty line.
  • 14 percent of parents are single, and 56 percent spend more than 30 hours per week caring for their children.
  • In college, 88 percent of single parents have salaries that are at or below 200 percent of the poverty level.

Eligibility for Loan Forgiveness

  • The student loan forgiveness process looks to be hampered by confusing procedures and mistakes. Borrowers are frequently ignorant that they are qualified for loan forgiveness. Furthermore, borrowers who ought to be qualifying are rejected due to the loan servicer’s incompetence or disinformation.
  • Congress has never financed the Higher Education Act, which extended loan forgiveness in 2008.
  • Student loan forgiveness will eventually benefit 0.7 percent of qualified borrowers.
  • Loan forgiveness is applied for by 6.7 percent of qualified student debtors.
  • Every indebted student borrower receives a $95.45 pardon from the federal government.
  • Every year, the percentage of submissions that are denied increases.
  • Since the program’s inception, just over 1% of petitions for Public Service Loan Forgiveness have been granted.
  • 0.032 percent of applicants were approved in the program’s first year.
  • PSLF is open to 3 million student loan holders, but just about 200,000 have applied.
  • Over a million student loan debtors are either qualified or nearing qualification for student loan forgiveness in the United States, accounting for over 25% of the workforce.
  • The Department of Education authorized $26.9 million of the $700 million set aside for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.
  • Administrative deception and corruption are two further causes of student loan forgiveness.
  • View our report on Student Loan Forgiveness Statistics for more information.

As these student loan debt data demonstrate, the expense of attending college may be a significant financial hardship for many Americans. 


Andy Thompson
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Andy Thompson has been a freelance writer for a long while. She is a senior SEO and content marketing analyst at Digiexe, a digital marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. She has more than seven years of experience in digital marketing & affiliate marketing too. She likes sharing her knowledge in a wide range of domains ranging from e-commerce, startups, social media marketing, making money online, affiliate marketing to human capital management, and much more. She has been writing for several authoritative SEO, Make Money Online & digital marketing blogs like ImageStation.

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