College Student Loan Debt Statistics 2023

Higher education is seen as a path to success and financial prosperity by millions of Americans.

However, due to increasing college costs, paying for college is not easy, and many students find it necessary to finance higher education with student loans, although it can impede their ability to buy a home, get married start a family.

According to Federal Reserve data, college students in the United States owe about $1.762 trillion in total student loan debt as of July 2022.

The debt accumulation rate is slowing, and recent analytics indicate that consumers are managing their student debt well. 

Here’s a breakdown of college student loan statistics 2022 with the latest figures of how many borrowers are there, how much they owe, and how they are repaying their loans?  Let’s get started!

College Student Loan Debt Statistics

Key College Loan Debt Statistics 

  • Student loan debt in the United States totals $1.762 trillion, including private and federal debt. 
  • The outstanding federal loan balance accounts for 92.29% of all student loan debt, while the remaining 7.71% is the private loan. 
  • The total average student loan debt balance, including both federal and private, is $40,904. 
  • The average federal loan debt per borrower in the United States is $37,014.
  • For borrowers of private student loans, the average student loan is around $40,904 per borrower. 
  • 25% of all the college student loan borrowers went to graduate school. 
  • 55% of the borrowers are students from public four-year institutions
  • 57% of the students from private institutions took on student debt.
  • Less than 2% of the private students default while paying the loans. 1 

Read: What Is Debt Financing? 

Read: Top Student Loan Debt Facts

The History of Student Loans

Federal Student Loan Debt

Federal Student Loan Debt

According to statistics, only 30% of undergraduates borrow money from the federal government, and the amount they borrow accounts for 92.6% of all student loan debt.

Let’s take an in-depth look at federal student loan debt: 

  • The federal government approves $45.3 billion in student loans to 44.4% of all postsecondary students annually. 
  • Stafford Loans account for 52.8% of the federal student loan debt.
  • Direct consolidated loans account for 35.5% of the federal student loan debt. 
  • 18.6% of federal loan debt comes under subsidized Stafford loans, while 34.2% is in unsubsidized Stafford loans. 
  • 0.4% of student loan debt is from Perkins loans. 
  • GRAD PLUS loans make up to 5% of federal student loans. 
  • The ED budgets $90.2 billion for all student loan programs, including $77 billion for federal direct student loans and $13.3 billion for FFEL loans. 2

Private Student Loan Debt

Private Student Loan Debts
  • Private student loan accounts for 8.4% of the outstanding college student loan debt. 
  • The national private student loan balances have surpassed $140 billion. 
  • More than 88% of the balance is for undergraduate loans, while the remaining 11% is for graduate students. 
  • 13% of the students use private sources such as banks or credit unions. 3

Federal College Loan Debt Quarterly Figures 

Federal student loans make up about 92% of the American education debt. The Federal student loan portfolio currently totals more than $1.6 trillion owed by 43 million borrowers.

Here are the federal college student loan debt (quarterly) statistics: 

YearYear-over-year changeTotal debt
2020 Q14.69%$1,515.0
2020 Q24.48%$1,542.7
2020 Q34.30%$1,544.8
2020 Q43.71%$1,556.3
2021 Q13.31%$1,565.2
2021 Q23.18%$1,591.2
2021 Q33.00%$1,591.1
2021 Q42.83%$1,610.7
2022 Q12.63%$1,606.4

College Student Debt By Loan Type 

Here is a breakdown of the college student debt by loan type: 

Loan TypeNumber of borrowers Amount Owed
Direct subsidized Direct unsubsidized 34 million combined $564 billion $292 billion
Grad Plus 1.6 million $91 billion
Perkins1.5 million $4 billion
Parent Plus 3.7 million $105 billion
Consolidation 11.3 million$555 billion


Read: How Much Credit Card Debt Is Too Much?

Student Loan Debt By Level Of Education 

Education LevelAverage Student Debt
Undergraduate $71,000
Master’s degree$64,800
Associate degree$21,890
Doctoral degree $183,200
Professional degree$199,540

Student Loan Debt By Degree 

As per data from the Institute of College Access & Success, 62% of the students graduated with student debt in the class of 2019, and the average student loan was $28,950. 25% of undergraduates pass out with $20,000 in student loan debt, while graduate students tend to borrow more than $57,000. 

Degrees that are high in demand are expensive, but the money you invest pays off in the long run. Here’s what an average college loan debt by degree look-like: 

Debt TypeAverage Debt
Bachelor’s degree debt$28,950
Graduate School debt$71,000
Law school debt$145,500
Medical School debt$1,45,500
Dental School debt$292,169
Nursing school debt$23,711
MBA student debt$66,300
Pharmacy school debt $179,514
Veterinary school debt $183,302


College Student Loan Debt By Age 

The College Student Loan Debt By Age 

The majority of student loan borrowers are between the ages of 25 to 34 and owe around $500 billion of debt in federal student loans.

The average loan owed by each borrower in this age group is between $10,000 to $40,000.

On the other hand, borrowers between the ages of 35-49 carry around $620 billion in student loans, which means each borrower owes more than $100,000 in student loans.

Here are the college student loan debt statistics by age: 

  • 35-year-olds owe the highest outstanding college student loan debt totaling $42,600. 
  • About 77.2% of student loan recipients are under 30, while 17.7% of the student loan borrows are below 25. 
  • 34% of adults between 18-29 have student loan debt. 
  • 7.4 million borrowers are 24 years old or younger. 
  • 2.4 million borrowers aged 62 or older owe about $98 billion in student loans. 

Read: Credit Card Debt Statistics

Read: 10 Best Debt Relief Companies For Credit Card Debt

College Student Loan Debt By Gender 

  • Women owe 58% of all student loan debt. 
  • 56.5% of all student financial aid beneficiaries are women. 
  • 55.9% of males received federal loans, while 21.5% have non-federal loans. 
  • Male students are more likely to take out student loans on their parents’ behalf. 
  • 16% of women have undergraduate student loan debt, while 8% have post-graduate student debt. 
  • Male students are less likely to have student loan debt from graduate school than their female peers. 
  • Students who identify themselves as transgender or binary have the lowest student loan debt. 5

College Student Loan Debt By Ethnicity 

  • Black students owe the highest amount of student loan debt at 49.4%.  
  • Asian students owe the least federal student loan debt with 62% borrowing. 
  • 71% of the white students are most likely to receive private loans.
  • American and Alaska Native students don’t prefer to receive private loans with only 2.6% borrowing. 
  • 67% of Latino and Hispanic borrowers have educational debt. 
  • Caucasian and white students owe 54% of the national student loan debt.
  • Black and African students graduate with $52,000 or more in student loan debt than their white or Asian peers. 
  • 48% of the black students owe 12.5% more than what they borrowed four years after graduation. 

Student Loan Debt Relief Statistics

Student Loan Debt Relief Statistic
  • 55% of Americans are in favor of the cancellation of federal student loan debt up to $10,000 per borrower and 47% for up to $50,000 per borrower.
  • 32.2% of borrowers of student loans owe $10,000 in federal debt, and the rest, 74.2%, owe $40,000 or less.
  • 31% of Americans are not in favor of student debt collection.
  • People who support up to $10,000 in student loan forgiveness are more likely to be female, by 28.2%.
  • 56.0% of those who are in favor of student loan forgiveness make no more than $50,000 annually, and the rest, 14.3%, make over $100,000.

Sources Of Student Debt Among Borrowers 

Students borrow money from different sources to cover their tuition and living expenses during college.

Here are the different sources of student debt among borrowers: 

Sources of Educational Debt% Of Borrowers
Student Loan 95%
Credit Card 23%
Home Equity Loan 4%

Student Loan Repayment Statistics

Student loan repayment plans involve making regular monthly payments. Lower monthly payments may lead to higher interest rates, whereas missed payments may enter default.

Here are the current loan repayment statistics for student loans: 

Status Number of borrowersDebt
In School6.4 million $118 billion
Grace Period  1.6 million $41 billion
Repayment  0.5 million $16 billion
Deferment  3.1 million $113 billion
Forbearance 24 million $968 billion
Default5.1 million $112 billion

Read: Hospital Bad Debt Statistics

Student Loan Delinquency Statistics 

Student loan default happens if the borrower misses a payment for a specific period.

Private student loans usually enter default after three months of missed payments, while federal student loans typically enter default after nine months past due.

The table below lists down the student loan delinquency rates among college student loan borrowers who are most likely to default within a few years of entering the loan repayment: 

Student loan borrowers Default Rates
Public Non-profit Schools14.7%
Public non-profit Colleges 9.3%
Private non-profit colleges 6.7%
Foreign Schools 2.9%
Total default rate 9.7%

Average Student Loan Forgiveness Statistics 

Average Student Loan Forgiveness Statistics 

According to the Education Data report, Student loan forgiveness statistics indicate that in 2021, the highest number of students will benefit from the loan forgiveness program than ever.

The total amount forgiven was less than 0.6% of the national outstanding student loan debt balance.

Here are the details of the applications approved for the federal student loan forgiveness program: 

Public Service Loan Forgiveness 

The total number of applications submitted for the PSLF programs is 756,617, of which only 14,566 got approved.

Among the discharges processed, 11,100 are PSLF, while 3,466 are for temporary expanded PSLF.

Among the denied claims, 30.7% of the applications are refused due to incomplete paperwork.

Here’s a PSLF discharge application adjudication progress for applications submitted since November 2020, as no reports were published from December 2021 to March 2021. 

Claims approved Claims pending Claims denied 
April 20213,458145,965241,910
May 2021 4,214167,125270,002
June 20214,848175,013241,910

PSLF Waiver 

According to Federal Student Loan Forgiveness data 2022, more than 113,000 waiver charges have been processed and as a result, $6.8 billion in debt discharged. 

Income-Driven Repayment Forgiveness 

According to Federal data obtained by the National Consumer Law Center and Student borrower Protection Center, 32 borrowers have been approved for the income-driven repayment forgiveness program. 

Borrower Defense To Repayment 

According to Federal Student Loan Forgiveness data 2022, 115,955 applications were approved out of 432,191 applications, with an approval rate of 27%. 6

Read: Medical Debt Statistics

Also Read: What Is Debt Relief? – Everything You Need To Know

Repayment Programs

The federal student loan system offers a range of repayment programs. The qualification for these plans differ based on the family size, income, etc.

Here is the distribution of federal loan portfolio among popular repayment plans:

Repayment planLoan amountNumber of borrowers
Graduated$91 billion3.1 million
Standard$202 billion10.5 million
Pay As You Earn (PAYE)$112 billion1.5 million
Income-based (IBR)$173 billion2.8 million
Income-contingent (ICR)$37 billion0.8 million
Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)$200 billion3.3 million


The huge gap between the income of pass-outs and the interest they ought to pay on their student loan is the main reason why most of them are living from paycheck to paycheck and are struggling to repay their student debts.

This was the latest College Student Loan Debt Statistics 2022, and we hope you found this article useful.


Is there a way to finish college without accumulating college debt?

The best way to avoid college debt is by attending an in-state public college.

Students who are graduating with non-college debt are attending colleges having fees of less than $8,000 a year.

How many students are in college debt in 2022?

The latest statistics for student loan debt show that there are approx 45 million student loan borrowers, and they collectively owe approx $1.7 trillion.

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