US Student Loan Debt Statistics – What No One Told You

Many student loan debt statistics reveal that more and more people are struggling with their payments. Many young people have given up because they can’t afford to get a loan. Most importantly, this trend hasn’t seemed to slow down over the years.

On the contrary, it’s getting worse and affects the country’s entire economy. Experts claim that student loans prevent young Americans from becoming entrepreneurs.

Let’s take a look at the numbers behind these worrying facts.

Key Student Loan Debt Facts & Stats (Editor’s Choice)

  • The average medical school debt is $215,900.
  • 46 million US citizens have student loans.
  • Almost 7% of students apply for loan forgiveness.
  • Students from California owe $138 billion.
  • One-third of those aged 25 to 34 got in debt to get a degree.
  • LGBTQ borrowers owe around $16,000 more than their peers.
  • 94% of all student loan debt are FFEL loans.
  • 3.6% of the student loan debt belongs to Perkins loans.

Student Loan Debt Statistics for 2021

The last year was especially difficult for students with loan debts. The unemployment rate among students has increased because of the coronavirus pandemic. In this section, you will find the latest statistics and facts about student loan debt and everything you need to know in 2021.

1. Women owe $929 billion in student loan debt.

(Education Data)

Even in 2021, women still need more time to pay off their debts. Furthermore, parents are more likely to help male children financially. In addition to that, women have a 26% lower income than men.

2. The total student loan debt in the US is currently $1.7 trillion.


The coronavirus pandemic has had a drastic impact on students and their loan debts, and it seems that the situation won’t improve anytime soon. Students owe almost $1.6 trillion in federal and $132 billion in private student loan debt.

3. The approximate medical school debt is $215,900.

(Education Data)

Loan debts have vastly contributed to the healthcare crisis in the US. A majority of students (76-89%) graduate with educational debt. According to student loan statistics, private medical school graduates owe around $2000 less public medical school graduates.

4. A survey showed that it takes around 18.5 years to repay a student loan debt.


Student graduates are expected to pay off their debt until they’re 45 years old. However, some students are debt-free before the age of 30. Around 2.6 million loan borrowers are 62 years old or even older.

5. One in eight US citizens has student loans.


Nowadays, student loans are the second most prominent type of household debt in the US. Luckily, statistics about the average student loan debt after graduation reveal that only 6% of college graduates owe more than $100,000.

6. Generation X carries the highest amount of student loan debt.


The borrowers of this age group have an average of $39,584 of debt per person. That’s more than $5,000 more than millennial student loan holders. Baby boomers are right after generation X, with an average of $34,703 in student debt.

General Student Loan Debt Statistics

A majority of students need to borrow money from a private lender or the government to get a college degree. Here, you can find some general statistics and facts about a student loan, borrowers, loan forgiveness, and other topics.

7. About 1% of Americans have student loan forgiveness.

(Student Aid)

As of January 2020, the student loan forgiveness program rejected a shocking 99% of all applications. The program approved loan forgiveness to only 1,565 people who were in debt.

8. The typical monthly rate for student loan payments falls between $200 and $299.

(Federal Reserve)

The monthly average student loan debt per person is between $200 and $299, according to the latest 2020 data issued by this Federal Reserve report. This data shows that the situation has drastically improved over the past few years.

9. 24% of Americans with student loans are behind their payments.


If we go back to the previous years, we’ll note that the rate was lower—the respective share of Americans with late payments was 19% and 20%. Therefore, the average student loan debt is still very high.

10. 52% of the direct federal loan debt is in repayment.


This category makes up over 50% of the total debt. Only 8% of the student balance is in default, while 40% is “on hold.” The reasons for putting paying the debt back on hold vary and include forbearance, grace period, deferment, or still being in school.

11. 14% of the Class of 2019 parents took $37,200 in federal Parent PLUS loans.

(Student Loan Hero)

In addition to the 69% of that year’s students who took out a loan, 14% of their parents acquired debt. Parents took an average of $37,200 in federal Parent PLUS loans, as college student and other college debt statistics show.

12. The average debt among student loan borrowers in the US is $32,731.


The loan debt amount depends on the loan and degree type, age, race, and other things. Even if the average loan debt among borrowers in the US is $32,731, borrowers in some states have more debt.

13. 6.7% of students apply for loan forgiveness.

(Education Data)

Even though almost 7% of eligible borrowers apply for loan forgiveness, getting a student loan forgiveness has become almost impossible. Furthermore, student debt data shows that the number of rejected applicants is rising steadily.

14. PSLF servicer approved 2,246 applications for loan discharge.

(Student Aid)

The PSLF servicer approved 2,246 applications and accepted 69% of approved applications for loan discharge. The total amount that was forgiven through this PSLF servicer amounted to a whopping $99 million.