Average Student Loan Debt

Student load can be a touchy subject. It seems that everyone’s experience is unique and often quite personal.

Some people are able to graduate with little to no debt, while others amass a significant amount. But what does the average student loan debt look like?

According to Nerdwallet, 45 million Americans have student loan debt which is about 17.4%.

This means that there are plenty of people who graduated with debt and are struggling to pay their student loans back.

Read on to learn more about average student loan debt, including what student debt is and some facts about it.

Average Student Loan Debt

Key Takeaways

  • Student loan payment has increased more than any other type of consumer debt payment over the last 10 years.
  • Many students take student loans to cover their tuition fees and also to fund their living expenses.
  • Just 6% of all borrowers of student loans owe more than $100,000.
  • The average student debt in 2021 was $37,013, whereas the average monthly payment was $354.

What Is A Student Loan Debt?

What Is A Student Loan Debt

A student loan is a type of loan that is specifically designed to help students pay for their education.

Student loans are usually issued by the federal government or a private corporation to put toward tuition or other educational expenditures. 

The free application for federal student assistance, often known as the FAFSA, allows students at public colleges and universities to apply for federal financial aid and student loan debts.

Private loan debts are also available to students; however, the terms and conditions differ tremendously. 1

Read: How To Write A Debt Settlement Proposal Letter?

Read: What Is Debt Financing? 

Average Student Loan Debt

According to the most recent data, the average student debt in 2021 was $37,013, whereas the average monthly payment was $354. 

The typical monthly payment has increased by around 55% compared to what it was a decade earlier.

In fact, the average graduate’s monthly student loan payment has increased more than any other type of consumer debt payment over the last 10 years.

Student Loan In The U.S.

Average Student Loan Debt by Education

DegreeTotal Student Loan DebtOnly Graduate Debt
Postbaccalaureate Certificate$82,819$67,376
Master of Arts$89,046$65,881
Master of Business Administration$81,075$62,394
Master of Education$67,500$52,057
Master of Science$76,218$59,779
Doctorate, Research$136,869$126,656
Doctorate, Professional$228,156$213,834
Doctor of Education$136,869$126,656
Medical Degree$300,887$277,847
Law Degree$177,967$161,029


Average Student Loan Debt by Year

  • Over the last year, there was a 1.5% increase in average federal student loan.
  • Over the last 16 years, the average student loan rose by 106%.
  • Since 2007, the average student loan debt has tripled.
  • There has been a decrease of 15% in private student loan over the last year. 

Facts About Student Loan Debts

Facts About Student Loan Debts

Here are some other interesting facts about student loan debts:

  1. Young College Graduates With Student-Loan Debts Suffer Financially

Student loan holders are more worried about their finances than their colleagues. 25-39-year-old college graduates with loans are much more likely to report they are struggling financially or just getting by, compared with those without loans.

  1. 6% Of Borrowers Owe 1/3 Of All The Debt

Only a small percentage of all student loan debtors have extremely high levels of debt. In fact, just 6% of all borrowers owe more than $100,000.

But this 6% accounts for nearly a third (32%) of the entire outstanding student debt in America, which is close to $1.5 trillion.

On the other hand, 18% of borrowers have student debt of less than $5,000. They together owe 1% of the outstanding debt.

  1. Many Students Take Loan To Cover Living Expenses In Addition To Tution fee

Many students take student loans to cover not just their tuition and fees but also to fund their living expenses while they are in school. 

According to an Urban Institute research based on a national post-secondary federal aid study, student loan trends are comparable amongst those who have all of their tuition funded by scholarship money (no net tuition) and those who have to pay tuition. 3

Read 10 Best Debt Relief Companies For Credit Card Debt

What Is Student Debt Forgiveness?

Final Thoughts

Education can be expensive, and student loan debt is one way to finance your education.

Before taking on any debt, it’s important to understand the average amount of debt that students have, as well as the factors that contribute to this number. 

Read: How To Get A Debt Lawsuit Dismissed?


What amount of student debt is normal?

In 2022, the average federal student debt amount was $37,358. Americans have $1.75 trillion in student debt collectively. 

What happens if I do not pay off my student loans in 25 years?

If you do not pay off your loan in 20-25 years, then the outstanding loan amount will be forgiven.

However, this will reflect in your credit report, so you should focus on repaying your debts. 4

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The National Planning Cycles is committed to producing high-quality content that follows industry standards. We do this by using primary sources, such as white papers and government data alongside original reporting from reputable publishers that were appropriate for the accuracy of information while still being unbiased. We have an editorial policy that includes verifiable facts with due credit given where applicable.

  1. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/student-debt.asp[]
  2. https://educationdata.org/average-student-loan-debt[]
  3. https://www.forbes.com/advisor/student-loans/average-student-loan-statistics/[]
  4. https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/repayment/plans#:~:text=Any%20outstanding%20balance%20on%20your,for%20graduate%20or%20professional%20study).[]
  5. https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/repayment/plans#:~:text=Any%20outstanding%20balance%20on%20your,for%20graduate%20or%20professional%20study).[]

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