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102 Student Loan Facts You Need to Know

by | Jan 6, 2017

From what used to be looked at as a good debt, is now putting millions of young Americans into tough corner.

The amount of Americans under the age of 40 with unmanageable student debt is staggering, and is only getting worse.

Instead of working to save towards a future that may not have Social security around. American prime working years are being spent dodging student loan debt collectors.

But why?

With more cash made freely available for education by our government and a lack of risk accountability from the schools that are raising tuition rates, it’s no surprise that what’s taking place, is being labeled a disaster.

I’ve scoured the web for the most up to date student loan statistics and what I found is quite alarming.

My aim, at the very least, is a hope that this list will both provide some answers and paint a picture of our current higher education system.

And if this list can even help just one high school kid make a more informed decision about their future, then the many days of research it took to put this list together were well worth the effort.

Student Loan Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

1. The total student loan debt amount in the US is at $1.28 trillion and rising.

2. Total debt grew by $76 billion from 2015 – 2016.

3. 44 million Americans hold student debt.

4. Nearly 2/3 of all graduates leave school with student debt.

5. 1/3 of all borrowers are financially burdened for much of their lives by student loan debt.

6. Student Loans cannot be normally discharged in bankruptcy.

7. The only way to discharge student debt is to prove “undue hardship” or by “total and permanent disability”.

8. Out of all attempted discharge filings in 2008. Only 29 resulted in total discharge.

9. Your debt can make you un-hirable due to credit checks by employers.

10. You can lose your professional license.

11. The government profits off putting you in debt.

12. .75% = Is the current Federal Reserve interest rate at which your loan money is lent out to the Dept of Education, which they mark up when disbursed it to you.

13. Average student loan interest rate for federal loans disbursed after 7/1/16 is 4.875%.

14. The markup on the loans above is more than 538 % ! Compare that to the highest clothing markup in retail of 350%.

15. Federal loan money comes from the Department of Education.

16. The Department of Education gets the money from the US Treasury.

17. The US Treasury gets the money from the Federal Reserve.

18. To be eligible for federal student loans, you MUST be registered with Selective Service.

19. 11.1% of borrowers are seriously delinquent (90+ days).

20. $3,000 in interest accrues every second.

21. Student loan interest is tax deductible.

22. There are two education credits available that may reduce your tax liability and increase your federal refund.

23. Total debt grew by 255% from 2004-2015.

24. National Student debt grew by an average of $73 billion a year from 2004-2015

25. In the same period the number of borrowers almost doubled increasing by 94%

26. An average of 1.78 million new borrowers take on student loans each year.

27. Average student loan payment was $351 in 2015 and rising. Are you in this range? If so, you might be interested in this.

28. Student loan debt is higher than credit card debt held by Americans.

29. Nearly 7% of the US National Debt is Student Loan Debt.

30. US Governent has authority to garnish wages and withhold income tax overpayments (tax refunds) if you’re in default.

31. Tuition in schools has been steadily rising every year.

32. Average public college president salaries are rising. (I wonder why)

33. In 2014 the median earnings of young adults with a bachelor’s degree was 66% higher than that of a high school graduate.

34. In 2014 the median earnings of a master’s degree holder was 18% higher than that of a bachelor’s.

35. 11.1% of students reported some sort of disability in 2011-2012.

36. Average time to get a bachelor’s degree in 2008 was 52 months.

37. There are four repayment plans available for federal borrowers.

38. Public loan forgiveness forgives your remaining balance after making 120 qualifying payments under a qualifying employer only.

39. Public loan forgiveness will take a minimum of 10 years.

40. Loan amounts that are forgiven under PSLF are not considered income by the IRS and will not require a federal income tax


41. Loan types eligible for PSLF are ONLY Direct Loans disbursed after Oct 1, 2007.

42. To be eligible for PSLF, loans disbursed prior to Oct 1, 2007 must be first consolidated into a Direct loan.

43. Under PSLF, the first forgiveness of balances won’t be eligible and granted until October 1 2017.

44. The ONLY payments that are qualified must be made under any IBR plan or the Standard 10 year plan.

45. Parent loans are not eligible for PSLF.

46. Private loans are not guaranteed by a government agency

47. Income based repayment plans are not available for private loans.

48. Private loans have higher interest and some even have origination fees.

49. 8% of Private Loan Borrowers did not apply for federal aid.

50. 25% of private loan borrowers attend for profit colleges.

51. Co-signers are responsible for the debt.

52. Nelnet, a student loan lender/servicer settled a lawsuit for $55 million. The lawsuit argued that Nelnet defrauded and overcharged borrowers.

53. In 1992 119,000 waiters and waitresses held college degrees.

54. In 2008 318,000 waiters and waitresses held college degrees.

55. 4 year public colleges are increasing in cost at a rate of 6.5%

56. Average cost of a 4 year degree earned at a public college in 2016 was $28,387

57. Average cost of a 4 year degree from a private college in 2016 was $59,341

According to the New York Fed
Number of borrowers VS Balance held

58. 9 million borrowers with a balance of $1-$5,000

59. 7.8 million borrowers with a balance of $5,000-$10,000

60. 12.5 million borrowers with a balance of $10,000-$25,000

61. 8.3 million borrowers with a balance of $25,000-$50,000

62. 3.3 million borrowers with a balance of $50,000-$75,000

63. 1.4 million borrowers with a balance of $75,000-$100,000

64. 1.2 million borrowers with a balance of $100,000-$150,000

65. 500,000 borrowers with a balance of $150,000-$200,000

66. 415,000 borrowers with a balance of $200,000 + (my wife is in this pool)

Age VS Total Student Debt 

67. Under 30 year olds hold $376 billion

68. 30-39 year olds hold $408 billion

69. 40-49 year olds hold $229 billion

70. 50-59 year olds hold $150 billion

71. 60+ year olds hold $66 billion

Number of borrowers VS Age

72. 17.3 million borrowers are under 30 years old

73. 12.1 million borrowers are between the ages of 30-39

74. 6.8 million borrowers are between the ages of 40-49

75. 5.2 million borrowers are between the ages of 50-59

76. 2.8 million borrowers are 60 years old or older

Borrower Repayment Status

77. Only 38% of borrowers are paying down their balances = 16.7 million borrowers

78. A Whopping 46% of borrowers balance is staying the same or a little higher = 20.4 million borrowers

79. 6% of borrowers are 90+ days delinquent = 2.4 million people

80. 10% of borrowers are in default = 4.7 million people

According to a Chegg survey, titled ” The Voice of the Graduate

81. Nearly half of all four-year college grads work in jobs that don’t require a degree.

82. 4 out of 10 of those who graduated from the country’s top school couldn’t find work in the field they hoped to enter.

83. STEM graduates are more likely to hold jobs requiring 4 year degrees.

84. 1/3 of all graduates don’t feel like school prepared them for the real world of work.

85. 39% of Employers said that inadequate training was an issue with new hires.

86. Nearly 50% of all graduates would chose a different major and school.

87. 47% of Liberal Art degree holders wish they studied something else.

88. 50% of graduates don’t look at graduation rates when picking a college.

89. 4 out of 10 students don’t look at job placement or salaries when choosing a major.

90. 120,000 graduates have taken jobs in fields they least desired such as; waiters, salespeople, and cashiers.

91. 1 college grad settles for an undesired job every 5 minutes.

92. 35% of students wanted to enter fields in health and business, but only 25% found work in them.

93. Liberal arts graduates tend to be lower paid, deeper debt, and less happily employed.

94. STEM disciplines report being better prepared for employment and have an above-average income.

95.Despite talk on colleges helping students with job placement, students mostly report being left to fend for themselves.

96. To find jobs, students mostly use their personal network instead of a school’s career service or alumni network.

97. 23% of students say their school could have better job placement services.

98. 34.4% of graduates reported making less than $20,000 per year.

99. $11,880 is the federal poverty line for individuals.

100. $20,160 is the federal poverty line for a family of 3.

101. 17.3% reported pay in the $20,000-$30,000 range.

102. Only 7.8% report making more than $70,000 annually.

If you currently hold any student loan debt and have are having a tough time trying to figure out your next steps, I created a free step-by-step spreadsheet to help you.

The spreadsheet contains the same exact 3 step process I used to pay off my student loan in full. And it’s the same process I’m using to help pay for my wife’s 6 figure debt.

Click below to download the free 3 step student loan analysis tool:

What did you think of the list? Did it help you? if so, how?
Did I miss any facts that should be there?

Let me know in the comments below!