Updated: Jul 28
Student loan debt is a growing problem in the United States, with more and more graduates burdened by the financial strain of repaying their student loans. It's not just affecting individuals, but society as a whole, as the crippling debt prevents people from achieving basic milestones and contributes to widening inequality.
Here are some eye-opening facts, figures, and statistics about student loan debt:
As of 2022, the total outstanding student loan debt in the United States is $1.7 trillion, and it continues to rise rapidly. (1)
The average student loan debt per borrower in the United States is $39,351, and the average monthly payment for borrowers is $393. (2)
Student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt and auto loan debt, making it the second-highest consumer debt category after mortgage debt. (3)
The high cost of student loan debt is making it increasingly difficult for graduates to achieve basic milestones such as buying a home or starting a family. A recent survey found that 23% of millennials said they delayed starting a family due to student loan debt, and 21% delayed buying a home. (4)
The burden of student loan debt disproportionately affects marginalized communities. Black borrowers are more likely to borrow, borrow more, and default on their student loans at higher rates than white borrowers. (5)
Student loan debt is also contributing to a widening wealth gap. Graduates with student loan debt are less likely to accumulate wealth, which means they have less financial stability and fewer opportunities for upward mobility. (6)
It's clear that student loan debt is setting everyone back from doing basic things and contributing to broader societal problems. Unless there are significant changes to the current system, this trend is likely to continue. It's time for policymakers to take action and provide solutions that make higher education more affordable and accessible to all.
Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Household Debt and Credit Report (Q2 2022)
U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid Portfolio Summary (Q2 2022)
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Household Debt Service and Financial Obligations Ratios (Q2 2022)
Bankrate, Student loan debt causing millennials to delay major life milestones (2019)
Center for Responsible Lending, The State of Student Debt (2021)
The Brookings Institution, The Effects of Student Debt on Long-term Household Financial Stability (2019)