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2023 Student Loan Debt Statistics

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Americans owe more than $1.76 trillion in student loan debt, though the Biden administration is trying to forgive about $500 billion of that total.

Meanwhile, 54% of bachelor’s degree recipients among the class of 2021 took out student loans, graduating with an average of $29,100 in federal and private debt.

These are just some of the latest student loan debt statistics as Americans continue to be burdened — even if government-held federal student loan payments have been paused since March 2020. (Private loan borrowers have had to continue payments throughout this period.)

Continue reading for more.

Key student loan debt statistics

The most recently available highlights from the student loan landscape include:

  • Americans own more than $1.76 trillion in federal and private student loan debt as of the third quarter of 2022. That’s up from more than $1.74 trillion in the second quarter of 2022, according to the Federal Reserve, and nearly $1.74 trillion in the third quarter of 2021. About $131.1 billion of this is private student loan debt, according to MeasureOne data through June 2021.
  • Students and parents borrowed an estimated $94.7 billion in the 2021-2022 academic year. According to CollegeBoard, 46% of this was federal unsubsidized loans, 16% was federal subsidized loans, 13% was Grad PLUS loans, 13% was private or other nonfederal loans and 11% was Parent PLUS loans.
  • 54% of the class of 2021 bachelor’s degree recipients graduating from four-year public and private nonprofit colleges had student loan debt. They left school with an average of $29,100 in federal and private student loan debt, according to CollegeBoard. Those who graduated from private nonprofits had $33,000 in debt, while those from public colleges had $27,400 in debt. Private school graduates were slightly more likely to leave school with debt than public school graduates — 55% versus 53%.
  • 45.3 million borrowers have federal student debt as of the second quarter of fiscal year 2022. That’s down slightly from 45.4 million in the second quarter of fiscal year 2021, according to CollegeBoard. (It’s harder to nail down fresh data on the number of borrowers with private student loans.)
  • 3.99% of student loans were 90 days or more delinquent as of the third quarter of 2022. That’s down from 4.55% last quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and significantly from 10.75% in the first quarter of 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The pause on government-held federal student loan payments has been extended eight times since March 2020. It’s now set to end once a resolution is reached on student loan forgiveness. If not, payments will restart 60 days after June 30, 2023.
Important: The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Feb. 28 on two challenges to the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan. The justices’ decision in the two cases will significantly impact the debt total.

Historic look at federal and private student loan debt (in millions)

QuarterTotal debt (in millions)
Q1 2006$480,967
Q2 2006$487,126
Q3 2006$510,548
Q4 2006$521,382
Q1 2007$544,989
Q2 2007$549,271
Q3 2007$577,381
Q4 2007$589,489
Q1 2008$619,316
Q2 2008$626,606
Q3 2008$660,584
Q4 2008$675,953
Q1 2009$707,227
Q2 2009$712,319
Q3 2009$746,523
Q4 2009$771,700
Q1 2010$800,070
Q2 2010$811,149
Q3 2010$845,805
Q4 2010$855,483
Q1 2011$896,848
Q2 2011$905,157
Q3 2011$940,339
Q4 2011$959,824
Q1 2012$994,280
Q2 2012$1,011,260
Q3 2012$1,041,034
Q4 2012$1,054,565
Q1 2013$1,092,014
Q2 2013$1,099,607
Q3 2013$1,134,181
Q4 2013$1,145,551
Q1 2014$1,182,061
Q2 2014$1,190,489
Q3 2014$1,226,394
Q4 2014$1,235,751
Q1 2015$1,271,845
Q2 2015$1,278,765
Q3 2015$1,311,766
Q4 2015$1,320,248
Q1 2016$1,358,137
Q2 2016$1,365,270
Q3 2016$1,398,573
Q4 2016$1,405,332
Q1 2017$1,440,359
Q2 2017$1,446,680
Q3 2017$1,479,030
Q4 2017$1,488,895
Q1 2018$1,523,344
Q2 2018$1,530,757
Q3 2018$1,560,682
Q4 2018$1,566,903
Q1 2019$1,597,654
Q2 2019$1,603,293
Q3 2019$1,635,132
Q4 2019$1,637,881
Q1 2020$1,671,969
Q2 2020$1,672,503
Q3 2020$1,696,475
Q4 2020$1,693,860
Q1 2021$1,718,707
Q2 2021$1,719,068
Q3 2021$1,739,444
Q4 2021$1,733,415
Q1 2022$1,747,456
Q2 2022$1,744,007
Q3 2022$1,761,742

Source: Federal Reserve

Federal student loan portfolio

Federal Student Aid — part of the U.S. Department of Education — data allows us to dive into how much federal student loan debt borrowers carry by loan type, repayment plan and more. The following data — except for the servicer information, which is as of September 2022 — is from the fourth quarter of 2022.

Federal student loan debt statistics by loan program

Direct loans$1,422.8 billion37.8 million borrowers
FFEL loans$207.8 billion9.2 million borrowers
Perkins loans$3.9 billion1.3 million borrowers
Total (all federal)$1,634.5 billion43.5 million unduplicated borrowers

Federal student loan debt statistics by loan debt

Stafford subsidized$294.3 billion30.2 million borrowers
Stafford unsubsidized$579.3 billion30.5 million borrowers
Stafford combined$873.6 billion34.6 million unique recipients
Grad PLUS$97.9 billion1.7 million borrowers
Parent PLUS$108.5 billion3.7 million borrowers
Perkins$3.9 billion1.3 million borrowers
Consolidation$550.6 billion10.9 million borrowers

Federal student loan debt statistics by loan status (direct loan program)

Loans in repayment$11.8 billion0.4 million borrowers
Loans in deferment$109.5 billion3.0 million borrowers
Loans in forbearance$1,039.6 billion25.6 million borrowers
Loans in default$105.2 billion4.8 million borrowers
Loans in grace period$34.1 billion1.3 million borrowers

Federal student loan debt statistics by repayment plan (direct loan program)

Level repayment plan (10 years or less)$208.0 billion10.7 million borrowers
Level repayment plan (greater than 10 years)$75.0 billion1.8 million borrowers
Graduated repayment plan (10 years or less)$86.7 billion3.0 million borrowers
Graduated repayment plan (greater than 10 years)$16.3 billion0.3 million borrowers
Income-contingent (ICR)$38.7 billion0.8 million borrowers
Income-based (IBR)$167.7 billion2.7 million borrowers
Pay As You Earn (PAYE)$113.2 billion1.5 million borrowers
Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)$201.3 billion3.4 million borrowers
Alternative$45.8 billion1.3 million borrowers

Federal student loan debt by servicer

RepaymentDefermentForbearanceIn-schoolGrace
Outstanding (billions)Recipients (millions)Outstanding (billions)Recipients (millions)Outstanding (billions)Recipients (millions)Outstanding (billions)Recipients (millions)Outstanding (billions)Recipients (millions)
PHEAA$0.10.00$0.10.00$2.40.03$0.20.03$0.00.00
Great Lakes$1.50.03$18.60.56$180.95.22$19.11.05$4.60.19
Nelnet$1.50.05$30.00.75$285.57.29$26.21.37$8.50.28
Aidvantage$4.00.16$23.30.61$267.46.57$15.50.82$5.00.17
Nonprofit servicers$5.00.13$39.31.18$340.18.41$55.03.2016.00.67

Federal and private student loan debt by state

If you’ve asked “But what about in my state?”, we have that data, too.

Here’s the latest from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Equifax, as of the fourth quarter of 2021 (the latest available):

Average federal and private student loan debt by state

RankStateAverage balance
1District of Columbia$53,769
2Maryland$42,543
3Georgia$41,826
4Delaware$39,238
5Virginia$39,001
6New York$38,668
7Florida$38,653
8Oregon$38,248
9Illinois$37,869
10California$37,783
11Alabama$37,730
12North Carolina$37,511
13Colorado$37,235
14New Jersey$37,003
15South Carolina$36,698
16Arizona$36,682
17Connecticut$36,391
18Mississippi$36,366
19Michigan$36,221
20Tennessee$36,155
21Ohio$35,806
22Nevada$35,688
23Massachusetts$35,400
24Pennsylvania$35,349
25Missouri$35,095
26Washington$34,846
27Louisiana$34,839
28Hawaii$34,608
29Vermont$34,595
30Idaho$34,196
31Kansas$33,954
32Rhode Island$33,838
33Maine$33,584
34Utah$33,474
35Minnesota$33,161
36Kentucky$33,155
37New Hampshire$33,094
38Texas$32,998
39New Mexico$32,944
40Montana$32,459
41West Virginia$32,214
42Oklahoma$32,102
43Indiana$32,045
44Arkansas$31,851
45Nebraska$31,551
46Wisconsin$31,482
47Wyoming$30,581
48North Dakota$30,542
49Alaska$30,427
50Iowa$29,845
51South Dakota$28,218

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax

Private student loan debt statistics

While certain sources track federal and private student loan data together, some gather based on private loans alone. Here’s a closer look at some stats in that realm:

  • Americans owe more than $136.3 billion to private student lenders as of March 2021, the latest available data from the Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS).
  • Private student loan debt volume hit an estimated $12.7 billion in the 2021-2022 academic year, according to CollegeBoard.
  • 92% of undergraduate and 66% of graduate private loans were cosigned by someone else during the 2021-2022 academic year, according to MeasureOne.
  • As of the end of the third quarter of 2021, 74% of private loans were in repayment, according to MeasureOne. Another 17% were in deferment, 6% were in a grace period and 2% were in forbearance.
  • Undergraduate loans account for 88.7% of the total outstanding balance of private loans, while graduate loans account for 11.3% as of the third quarter of 2021, according to MeasureOne.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness statistics

Lastly: LendingTree has an in-depth student loan forgiveness statistics roundup that looks at various types of programs, but we thought we’d provide a separate breakdown of the latest on the most impactful program — Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF).

The Federal Student Aid data here is through October 2022 — the latest available — and looks at the PSLF programs as a whole, including PSLF, Temporary Expanded PSLF (TEPSLF) and limited waiver:

  • PSLF borrowers with one or more approved PSLF employment certification forms and a positive loan balance: 1,552,546
  • Borrowers who submitted forgiveness applications: 1,820,509 (versus 1,046,449 through May 2022)
  • Unique borrowers granted PSLF (PSLF, TEPSLF and waiver): 233,320 (versus 146,316 through May 2022)
  • Average balance forgiven (PSLF, TEPSLF and waiver): $63,826 (versus $64,968 through May 2022)

Sources

  • Federal Reserve
  • Brookings Institution
  • CollegeBoard
  • Federal Student Aid
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS)
  • MeasureOne
 

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