What statistics do you have on student loan debt and repayment for college students?
First-Time, Full-Time Degree/Certificate-Seeking Undergraduate Students Receiving Loans and Average Annual Loan Amounts
Thirty-eight percent of first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students overall were awarded loan aid in 2020–21, a 12 percentage point decrease from 2010–11 (50 percent).1 At 4-year institutions, the percentage of undergraduates who were awarded loans between 2010–11 and 2020–21 decreased across institutions of all control types. At 2-year institutions, there was no consistent trend in the percentage of first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students who were awarded loans at institutions of any control type from 2010–11 to 2020–21.
Overall, the average annual loan amount awarded to first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students who received student loans decreased by 8 percent between 2010–11 and 2020–21 (from $8,400 to $7,700).2 At 2-year institutions, average annual loan amounts decreased between 2010–11 and 2020–21 across institutions of all control types.
In each of the three years from 2018–19 to 2020–21, the average annual loan amount for students at private nonprofit 4-year institutions was higher than the corresponding loan amount for students at other types of institution (public and private for-profit 4-year institutions and public, private nonprofit, and private for-profit 2-year institutions). This pattern differs from the preceding years, between 2010–11 and 2017–18, during which annual loan amounts were highest at private for-profit 4-year institutions.
Average annual loan amounts for first-time, full-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduate students who were awarded loan aid at degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by level and control of institution: Academic years 2010–11 through 2020–21
NOTE: Data represent the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Degree-granting institutions grant associate’s or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs. Includes only loans made directly to students; does not include Parent PLUS Loans or other loans made directly to parents. Constant dollars are based on the Consumer Price Index, prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to an academic-year basis. Averages exclude students with no student loans. Some data have been revised from previously published figures.
Federal Loan Debt 4 Years After Completion
In addition to examining annual student loans, it is important to understand the amount of student loans received over the entire course of a degree or certificate. For those who completed a bachelor’s degree in 2015–16, these cumulative loan data are available specifically for federal loans.3 For 2015–16 bachelor’s degree completers who had ever received federal student loans, the average amount borrowed as of 2020 was $45,300.4
Among federal student loan borrowers, average amount owed as percentage of amount borrowed as of 4 years after 2015–16 bachelor’s degree completion, by race/ethnicity and Pell Grant receipt: 2020
NOTE: Estimates pertain to individuals who completed the requirements for a bachelor’s degree in 2015–16 and were awarded their degree by a Title IV eligible postsecondary institution in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico no later than June 30, 2017. Federal student loans include subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loans (formerly called Stafford Loans), excluding Direct Unsubsidized Loans to students who received a TEACH Grant and failed to fulfill the service obligation; Perkins Loans; and Graduate PLUS Loans. Excludes Parent PLUS Loans. The amount borrowed represents cumulative amount borrowed in federal student loans for undergraduate and graduate education as of 4 years after completion of the respondent’s 2015–16 bachelor’s degree. Barrowers may owe more on their federal student loans than originally borrowed due to accumulating loan interest; thus, the amount owed may be greater than 100 percent of the amount borrowed. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.
Among federal student loan borrowers who completed a bachelor’s degree in 2015–16, the average amount owed as a percentage of the amount borrowed5 as of 4 years later (2020) was 78 percent. Among these bachelor’s completers, the average percentage owed was higher for those who had ever received a Pell Grant than for those who had not (85 vs. 66 percent). The average amount owed as a percentage of the amount borrowed also showed some variation by race/ethnicity. The average percentage owed was lower for those who were Asian (63 percent) and higher for those who were Black (105 percent) compared with those of most other racial/ethnic groups. Black bachelor’s completers were the only racial/ethnic group whose average amount owed 4 years after graduation was greater than 100 percent of the amount borrowed―that is, on average, Black bachelor’s completers owed more 4 years later than the amount they had originally borrowed.
1 Includes only loans made directly to students. Does not include Parent PLUS Loans or other loans made directly to parents.
2 All dollar amounts in this Fast Fact are expressed in constant 2021–22 dollars. Constant dollars are based on the Consumer Price Index, prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, adjusted to an academic-year basis.
3 Loan data from the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B) presented in figure 2 may not be comparable to data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) presented in figure 1. B&B incorporates data from institutional records, the National Student Loan Data System, and student-reported information, while IPEDS relies only on institutional records. In addition, the B&B data presented are limited to federal loans. Excludes Parent PLUS Loans. Also excludes Direct Unsubsidized Loans to students who received a TEACH Grant and failed to fulfill the service obligation. For more information, see Baccalaureate and Beyond (B&B:16/20). Data from B&B have been adjusted to 2021–22 dollars.
4 The amount borrowed represents the cumulative amount borrowed in federal student loans for undergraduate and graduate education as of 4 years after completion of the respondent’s 2015–16 bachelor’s degree.
5 Borrowers may owe more on their federal student loans than originally borrowed due to accumulating loan interest; thus, the amount owed as a percentage of the amount borrowed may be greater than 100 percent.
SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics. (2023). Loans for Undergraduate Students. Condition of Education. U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved June 21, 2023, from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/cub.
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