25 Student Loan Debt Statistics and Facts


College debt is one of the most serious financial issues Americans have been struggling with for the past two decades. Student loan debt statistics show that in Q2 2022, Americans owe $1.75 trillion, but it grew to $1.76 trillion in the last quarter of 2022. Even with all the financial aid, grants, and sponsorships, student debt continues to grow every year.

What is the average college debt in the United States? How many Americans leave college with loan debt? What are the states that struggle with college loan debt the most? Discover these and many other shocking stats and facts about US student loan debt.

Student Loan Debt Statistics (Editor’s Choice)

  • The student debt total in the United States reached $1.75 trillion in Q2 in 2022, but it increased in the last quarter amounting $1.76 trillion.
  • The US student loan debt grows by $2,858 every second.
  • Around 48 million Americans owe money for their college education.
  • 43% of American students rely on loans to pay for a college education.
  • 6% of White Americans are still behind with their college debt payments.
  • Less than 1% of all student loan debt was at least 90 days delinquent in Q4 2022, significantly lower than in 2021 which was nailed at 3%.
  • Black and African American bachelor’s degree holders have an average of $52,000 in student loan debt.
  • The average college loan debt in the United States in 2022 is $37,667, but it declined to $37,574 before the year end which only shows that consumers manage their loan debt efficiently.

Shocking Student Loan Debt Stats

1. Total student loan debt in the USA was $1.76 trillion in the last quarter of 2022, an increase of $0.02 trillion compared to Q2 in the same year.

Official figures record constant growth of education debt over the years. For comparison, in Q4 2022, it was $1.76 trillion and in Q4 2021, it was $1.73 trillion. In the period 2018–2020, the annual college debt was $1.56 trillion, $1.63 trillion, and $1.69 trillion, respectively. The latest student loan data set the 2022 student loan total at $1.76 trillion.

Only mortgage debt in the US is higher at $11.39 trillion. Official credit card debt stats show a total amount owed of $0.89 trillion in Q2 2022. The situation is similar to the personal loan debt figures, which set the total amount owed by Americans in 2022 at $0.43 trillion.

(US Federal Reserve, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Experian)

2. Every second in the United States, $2,858 in education debt is acquired.

Among the most shocking student loan debt facts is the rapid growth of the amounts owed. Those increase by almost $3,000 every second. So, it comes as no surprise that some early projections set the total debt owed by students at $2 trillion by 2022.


3. There are 43.5 million Americans who carry education debt in 2022.

Around 43.5 million US citizens have a total of $1.75 trillion in college debts, which is around $412 billion more than the total amount owed by auto loan borrowers. In addition, around 45.4 million indebted students have federal debt. Student loan statistics also reveal that the percentage of college students that graduate with student loans stood at 55% in 2020.

(Student Loan Hero)

4. In 2022, the average student debt among Americans was $37,574.

Together with private loan debts, the total average college student debt is estimated at $39,590. Namely, the total amount owed has increased at an average quarterly rate of 1.48% in the last 10 years. However, as the student loan stats show, students borrowed 7.13% less in federal loan dollars between the 2009–10 and 2019–20 school years.

(Education Data)

5. The average public in-state college tuition cost is $10,740 for the 2021–22 academic year.

By contrast, the private school average tuition is much higher at $38,070. Public four-year out-of-state colleges have a higher average of approximately $27,560 but because of inflation, it increased to $28,240 in academic 2022-23. Those planning to attend a public two-year in-state state college should expect tuition of about $3,800.


6. 30% of American students need to borrow money to pay for their education.

According to official student loan statistics, two out of five Americans who went to college borrow money to cover education costs. Most of the borrowers (96%) take student loans, while 24% use other options like home equity lines, credit cards, and other types of credit.


7. In 2021, the median student loan debt in the US among those with any outstanding debt for their own education was between $20,000 and $24,999.

The US Federal Reserve highlights in its student loan facts that the median student loan debt varies significantly depending on the demographic groups. One-quarter of student loan borrowers had less than $10,000 in outstanding student debt. Borrowers with an income of less than $50,000 a year were more likely to carry lower balances of student loan debt.

(Pew Research Center)

8. In 2021, over half of Americans with college loan debt had paid off their loans.

More precisely, 52% of people who carried education debt had managed to pay it off completely, according to the Federal Reserve’s student loan debt stats. 6% and 42% were behind on their payments or were still paying off college loans, respectively.

When focusing on education type, those who attended private, not-for-profit colleges were in the best situation. In this category, 7% were behind on their payments. On the other hand, about 11% of students from public education and 23% of those who attended private for-profit colleges were behind on their payments in 2021.

(US Federal Reserve)

9. The average monthly student loan payments stand at $460 for bachelor’s degree holders.

The official US student loan debt statistics show that Americans pay between $354 and $541 towards their education debt, for a newly graduated Bachelor’s degree holder. The mean monthly student loan payments for those with an associate’s degree are $333, while those who hold a master’s or a doctoral degree pay $695 and $1,210 on average, respectively.

(Education Data)

10. As of July 2022, only 27,505 out of 1.13 million PSLF applications were approved to bring borrowers closer to forgiveness.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program exists to help Americans deal with education debt. Still, student loan debt statistics show that the program is continuously failing applicants. Namely, out of 1,132,432 applications, 1,104,927 (97.6%) were deemed ineligible. Most PSLF applications (76%) were rejected because the applicants had no open direct loan in repayment for at least 10 years at the time of submission.

The figures reveal the balance discharge for people whose PSLF applications were approved totaled over $1.2 billion. Still, this figure is a small fraction of the total student loan debt recorded in the latest college debt statistics. In addition, the average discharged balance per borrower was $97,218.

(Student Aid)

11. The tuition costs in the public four-year sector have grown by 9% over the last decade.

A study by the College Board places the tuition cost rose by 9% since the 2011–12 school year. The tuition growth was much more conspicuous in the preceding decades; it increased by 38% between the 1991–92 and the 2001–02 school years, while the growth rate for the period between 2001–02 and 2011–12 was 73%. These increasing education costs are considered one of the main reasons for the continually growing student loan debt.

(College Board)

12. It takes between 10–30 years for American students to repay their education debt.

Among the most shocking student loan facts is that it takes about ten years for people to repay loans under $7,500. According to Student Aid, if the amount borrowed is at least $60,000, then the projected repayment period is 30 years. In the Student Aid table, the rest of the repayment periods range between 12 and 25 years for $7,500–$60,000 amounts.

(Student Aid)

Average Student Loan Debt by Age 

13. Student loan debt is highest among Americans aged between 35 and 49.

The latest data for Q3 2022 show that college student debt reaches its peak among people aged 35–49, at an average of $516.4 billion. Student loan debt statistics reveal that the 25–34 age group ranks second with $478.8 billion. For those aged 50–61, the average amount of student loan debt is $228.6 billion, while college debt averages $72.7 for those aged 62 and older.

(Student Aid)

14. The average student loan debt by Generation Z has jumped by 24.3% between 2020 and 2022.

Reports by Experian show that Generation Z borrowers’ student loan debt grew the most in 2022. The Millennial’s loan debt growth rose the most after Gen Z’s (14.7%), Baby Boomers’ student debt grew at the smallest rate (0.5%), while Silent Generation borrowers’ debt decreased by -1.3%.


15. About 15% of American adults carry outstanding student loan debt.

Among all adults in the US, only 15% have this type of debt to worry about. However, the situation is more drastic among Americans aged 18–29. Among them, around one-third (34%) owe money for paying off student loans. People at 60 or more have the lowest percentage, i.e., only 1%. College debt statistics for 2018 indicate that 22% of those aged 30–44 and 7% of people in the 45–59 age group had outstanding student debt.

(Pew Research Center)

16. 36% of Americans with student debt believe the financial costs of their degree are larger than their economic benefits.

Among those who carry college loan debt, more than one-third (36%) find the education costs more significant than the benefits. About 14% of people think that the expenses are “much larger,” while 23% find them “somewhat larger.” Approximately 17% of Americans that owe money for their college education find the costs in line with the benefits. Student debt statistics nevertheless show that the majority (46%) consider the benefits more substantial than the costs. Nearly a quarter (23%) see the financial benefits of their degree as “much larger” than the economic costs.

(Pew Research Center)

Student Debt in America by Location

17. New Hampshire, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island are the states with the highest one-year increase in college student debt.

Best Colleges has categorized all US states by their highest one-year increase of average student loan debt. Here, New Hampshire and Delaware share the throne with average student debts of $31,928 and $39,705, respectively. Official US student loan debt statistics place Pennsylvania third, whose average college student debt in 2022 was $39,375. Finally, the top four list is rounded up with Rhode Island, with an average education debt of $36,791.

(Best Colleges)

18. Among the states with the most robust data, New Jersey and Pennsylvania had the largest increase in debt for student loans between 2004 and 2019.

According to the TICAS study, the states with the most robust changes in average debt were those whose share of graduates with student loan debt was at least 66% in both years.

As for the most significant 15-year increase in average student debt, we have New Jersey in the lead. Student debt statistics in the US show that this state experienced a 107% 15-year jump in average education debt, which was three times faster than the inflation rate. Its 2004 graduates had an average debt of $16,223, while the average debt of college graduates in 2019 stood at $33,566. In addition, Pennsylvania’s figure doubled between 2004 and 2019, with the average graduate student loan debt of college graduates at $19,556 and $39,027, respectively.


19. Arizona had the smallest 15-year jump in US student loan debt between 2004 and 2019.

Among the countries with the most robust data, Arizona experienced the smallest average college debt change between 2004 and 2019, at 36%. Per student loan debt statistics, Arizona’s student loan debt grew at the same rate as inflation, rising from $18,147 in 2004 and reaching $24,712 in 2019. The only states with strong robustness that also reported increases smaller than 50% were Washington and Indiana at 42% and 45%, respectively.


20. Washington, DC, has the highest average amount of student loan debt at $61,312.

Maryland ranks second, with an average outstanding student debt of $47,271, followed by Georgia ($45,226). At $42,382, Virginia ranks fourth, followed by California ($41,930). Surprisingly, New York ranked sixth in 2021, with an average debt balance of $41,801.

According to Experian’s student loan debt statistics, North Dakota is at the other end of the spectrum, boasting the lowest average education debt of $31,974. Iowa follows with $32,688, while South Dakota and Nebraska rank third and fourth, with an average education debt of $33,012 and $33,805, respectively, 


Student Loan Default Rate

21. Less than 1% of all student loan debt was at least 90 days delinquent in Q4 2022, compared to 3% in 2021.

The number of delinquent student loans that were not yet in default dropped to less than 1% in 2022. Moreover, only a third (32.5%) of indebted students with delinquencies make two or three late payments, while 44.7% make only one. On the other hand, 6.4% of students have been late with their payments at least five times, as suggested by student loan statistics. Additionally, two out of five (40.9%) students with college debt go into delinquency at least once while paying off their loans.

(Education Data)

22. 12% of Americans that carry debt for their own education are behind on their payments, a significant downturn from the 17% who were behind in the fall of 2019, before the pandemic.

About 18% of those borrowers hold an associate degree, and 6% hold a bachelor’s degree. Americans with a graduate degree (5%) represent the lowest share of people who are behind on their payments. A look at the shocking student loan debt statistics reveals that students who failed to complete their studies are most likely to default. About 23% of Americans with less than an associate degree have late payments that lead to a lower credit score.

(US Federal Reserve)

Average Debt After College by Race/Ethnicity

23. Black and African American bachelor’s degree holders have an average of $52,000 in student loan debt.

The Education Data student loan debt statistics also show that 40% of Black graduates have student loan debt from graduate school while 22% of White college graduates have graduate school debt. The figures aren’t too different for Asian people from the same age group: at 52%, Asian student borrowers are the most likely to have a net worth that exceeds their student loan debt. The situation is a bit different among Latino and Hispanic Americans, and White and Caucasian students. Namely, 67% and 70% of these groups, respectively, are behind their college debt payments. Moreover, 48% of Black students owe an average of 12.5% more than they borrowed. In the same period, 83% of White students owe 12% less than they borrowed.

(Education Data)

24. The monthly student loan payments for 39% of American Indian and Alaska Native borrowers are at least $247.

This racial group of borrowers owe the highest monthly payments. second only to Asian Americans, while Black and African American student borrowers are the second-most likely to have monthly payments of $350 or more. According to student loan debt facts, the largest percentage of people whose payments were below this threshold were Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are the most likely to have monthly payments of less than $100.

(Education Data)

25. 62.5% of Asian US students have average student loan debts lower than $1,000.

59% of all Asian students in the US have educational debt, as the Education Data student loan stats show. They also have the highest percentage of borrowers with debts lower than $1,000 in the US compared to other ethnic groups. Among the remaining 37.5%, 30.9% have debts between $10,000 and $39,999, 4% need to repay $40,000–$59,999, while 2.6% owe more than $60,000.

The same college loan statistics reveal that 20.9% of Black US students have an average debt below $1,000, the smallest share compared to other racial groups. However, they also have the highest percentage of borrowers with debts over $60,000 (5.6%).

(Education Data)

Final Thoughts

Education costs are increasing by the year, causing a severe burden for American students. With the student loan debt total in the United States surpassing $1.7 trillion, the situation is now more serious than ever. Both students and their parents struggle to pay for a college education, which many consider more costly than beneficial.

These shocking student loan debt statistics, meanwhile, show that Americans studying in private for-profit colleges carry the most debt and pay the largest average monthly payments. Also, these stats reveal that White Americans are in a better position, with more than half having paid off their debt.


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