student loan debt statistics

(Updated February 2021) 

The cost of post-secondary education is rising ever higher year after year. We gathered these fascinating statistics to show current trends in the United States. 

Student Loan Debt Statistics 2020 Stats:

  • At the end of 2020, Current outstanding student loan debt in the US is $1.7 trillion carried by 45 million borrowers
  • The average amount of outstanding student loan debt is around $37,500 per person
  • 31% of all adults have attended college
  • 43% of adults who went to college have incurred some debt for their education. 
  • 22% of American adults report they have outstanding debt from either undergraduate (15%) or post-graduate ( 7%) student loans
  • 17% of adults with outstanding student loan debt are behind on their payments.
  • Adults who did not complete their degree are most likely to be behind on their payments
  • Adults who graduate with degrees in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics have a higher income to debt ratio
  • Majors in education, social services, pharmacy, and law majors have a lower income to debt ratio, mostly due to these fields’ requirement for advanced degrees.
  • 65% of college students graduate with some debt
  • The average payment on a student loan is $393/month
  • It takes an average of 20 years (240 months) for borrowers to pay off their student debt

Student Loan Debt In America


What is the average student loan debt in 2020?

According to the Federal Reserve, the outstanding student loan debt ranges between $20,000-$24,999. Other sources state the average student loan debt is around $37,500. The average amount borrowed to obtain a bachelor’s degree from a public education is $30,030. 

What percentage of the population has student loan debt?

Approximately 22% of Americans report having student loan debt. 15% of Americans have debt from undergraduate degrees, while 7% have debt from postgraduate education.

Student Loan Debt by Major

Which majors have the most debt?

Not all majors have the same pay off, although, in theory, they cost the same to obtain. Of course, we know that salary isn’t the only reason to pursue a career, there are other factors to consider when you’re dedicating a good amount of your life to a particular career.

The numbers show us that graduates with majors in a STEM field, including sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics, have a higher income to debt ratio than social services, education, pharmacology and law. This is likely due in part to the fact that advanced degrees are needed for the majors that result in a lower income to debt ratio.

A higher income to debt ratio simply means that you make more money so your debt doesn’t take up as much of your income. 

Student Loan debt statistics

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