Student Loan Debt Statistics in 2019

Student loan debt has ballooned to its highest levels ever in the United States. In 2019, 44 million U.S. borrowers collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, according to Forbes. This is the highest amount ever owed before.

It’s no wonder experts agree, “America’s $1.5 trillion student-loan crisis has spiraled out of control.”

Read on for more stats about student loan debt in 2019:

2019 average student loan debt statistics

The average U.S. household with student loan debt owes $47,671, according to NerdWallet. Additionally, 65% of grads from the class of 2017 graduated with an average of $28,650 student debt, according to The Institute for College Access & Success.

Currently, about 92% of all student loans are owned by the U.S. Department of Education. On the other hand, private student loans comprise 7.63% of all U.S. student loans, according to MeasureOne. Today, total private student loan debt clocks in at a staggering $119.31 billion USD.

2019 average graduate school student debt statistics

Pursuing post-grad education can be a pathway to a higher income. However, graduate school is also a pathway to higher student loan debt. Currently:

2019 deferment and forbearance statistics

Student loan deferment or forbearance allows the borrower to temporarily stop making federal student loan payments. Additionally, forbearance or deferment is an option to temporarily reduce the amount owed for federal student loan payments.

Those in debt may use deferment or forbearance to avoid default.

Read on for a breakdown of federal and private loan deferment and forbearance statistics:

  • Federal loans

Currently, there 18.6 million borrowers paying back their federal loans. It’s important to note that borrowers with subsidized loans do not owe the interest that accrues during deferment. Currently, there are:

  • “3.4 million – federal loan borrowers with loans in deferment
  • 2.7 million – federal loan borrowers with loans in forbearance
  • 5.2 million – federal loan borrowers with loans in default” – NerdWallet
  • Private loans

The private loan industry is another story. Borrowers with private student loans can also temporarily postpone payments through deference or forbearance. However, interest will always accrue on these loans, regardless of payments. Currently, there are:

  • “18.01% – Percentage of outstanding private loan balance in deferment
  • 2.39% – Percentage of outstanding private loan balance in forbearance
  • 1.75% – Percentage of private loans in repayment that are 90+ days past due” NerdWallet

Income-driven repayment plans statistics

The federal government offers four income-driven repayment plans to reduce monthly student loan bills. There are three key criteria for meeting a income-driven repayment plan. First, is if a borrower cannot afford current loan payments and is worried about student loan default. Secondly is if a borrower qualifies for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The third and final criteria is if a borrower has high debt and a low income.

There are 4 income-driven repayment plans:

  • Income-Based Repayment
  • Pay As You Earn
  • Revised Pay As You Earn
  • Income-Contingent Repayment

All income-driven plans cap payments between 10% and 20% of discretionary income. Then, the remaining loan balance is forgiven after 20-25 years of payments.

Currently, there are:

  • “7.37 million – Federal loan borrowers on an income-driven repayment plan
  • 2.82 million – Federal loan borrowers on Income-Based Repayment
  • 2.56 million – Federal loan borrowers on Revised Pay As You Earn
  • 1.31 million – Federal loan borrowers on Pay As You Earn
  • 680,000 – Federal loan borrowers on Income-Contingent Repayment” – NerdWallet
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