What is the Average Student Loan Debt?

Student Loan DebtStudent loan debt is one of America’s biggest problems, prompting many to begin asking what is the average student loan debt. The idea of student loan debt and its impact on new graduates is crippling. Rather than start out their lives on a clean slate, many students are saddled with thousands of dollars in debt that truly create a taxing situation. It is also known that failure to pay back student loan debt in a timely manner results in years of interest compiling upon the initial value of the debt, leading to a number that soon snowballs into one that is too large to handle.

The Numbers Keep Growing

According to a recent article by Time Magazine, the average aggregate student loan debt in the United States was $253 billion dollars. That figure has ballooned to over $1 trillion dollars in just seven years, leading to a 300% total increase. These astronomical figures and extreme growth only work support the case that student loan debt is one of the biggest problems that the youth of today are facing.

With the aggregate numbers as they are, when one breaks them down, it becomes apparent that most students graduate with around $30,000 – $40,000 in debt. This figure though can obviously vary, and is mostly dependent upon the school that one chooses, in-state vs. out of state tuition, and any work opportunities undertaken during higher education to pay off debt.

The Schools

Student loan debt can vary through a number of factors. While one would think that the average student loan debt would be highest from private universities such as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton where the tuition is well over $40,000 per year, statistics show that only about 24% of students that attend these universities face debt. The average debt for these schools was a meager $5,000.

On the other hand, U.S. News and World Report published a ranking that featured the top 10 schools where students faced the most debt, which averaged around $42,000. These schools were far less well-known, and included names such as Wheelock College, Anna Maria College, Becker College, and Clark Atlanta University.


With a tough job market and other financial obligations, more students are facing delinquent debt. Delinquent debt is essentially debt that is due and owed. The longer one fails to pay, the deeper one falls into delinquency, leading to calls from creditors, harassment, and even bankruptcy and legal action. Research posted by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows that the student loan debt delinquencies are quickly bypassing those of credit card and other forms of debt. This indicates that either students are truly unable to pay, the sums are too great, or that many are choosing to disregard their student loans.

Related Resource: Work Study Program

Don’t Be Discouraged

Yes, the information above does seem dismal at best, but there are ways to reduce your student loan debt and manage it wisely. CNN Money explains that saving before college, doing well in high school and on entrance exams, focusing on practical help, and beginning at a community college are just a few ways that you can cut the costs of your college tuition and leave college feeling like everything is manageable. Therefore, with the average student loan debt as it is, things can still be controlled and you can manage it wisely for a stress free post college experience.