How bad is the student loan debt crisis? Pretty bad… In 2022, there’s over $1.7 trillion in outstanding student loan debt!

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But what does that number actually mean? How does it affect student loan borrowers? And what other student loan debt statistics and facts should you know in 2022?

Those are all important questions – especially if you’ll soon need to take out a student loan or begin paying off your student loan debt!  

To help you out, in this blog post, we’ll share the most important facts and figures that reflect topics like:

  • How many people currently have student loan debt
  • Who is borrowing the most student loans to pay for college
  • How much student loan debt the average college graduate has
  • How students are repaying their student loans 
  • How long does it take the average person to repay their student debt
  • Who can expect to benefit from student loan forgiveness programs
  • And more

Let’s get started! 

Student Loan Debt Statistics and Facts

There are hundreds of student loan debt statistics we could share. But here are the most important facts and statistics for you to know about right now.

#1 How much student loan debt is there in the United States?  

As we mentioned in the intro, as of June 2022, there is over $1.7 trillion in student loan debt in the United States. 

#2 What type of student loan debt do most borrowers have? 

According to MeasureOne’s 2021 Private Student Loan Report, 92.29% of that debt comes from federal student loans. The other 7.71% comes from private student loans. 

#3 What is the average student loan debt balance in America?

For borrowers of federal student loans, the average student loan debt is $37,014 per borrower. When you factor in private student loans, the average student loan debt goes up to around $40,904 per borrower.

#4 How many American adults have student loan debt? 

43.4 million American adults have federal student loan debt. This means around 1 in 8 Americans currently have student debt. 

#5 Which age group has the most student loan debt? 

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid, borrowers between the ages of 25-34 had the most number of borrowers with student loan debt as of December 2021. Borrowers in this age bracket owe approximately $493.63 billion in federal student loans. 

Although there are slightly fewer borrowers between the ages of 35-49, borrowers in that age bracket owe even more money. Their outstanding federal student loan debt balance sits at around $622.91 billion. 

#6 What is the average student loan debt for community college?

According to Community College Review, the average student loan debt balance for graduates of public community colleges is approximately $11,112. For graduates of private community colleges, the average balance is approximately $17,343.

#7 What percentage of college students graduate debt free?

Among recent college students, only around 30% graduate without student loan debt. And, according to Best College Reviews, 1 in 3 of those students doesn’t come from a high-income background. 

How’s that possible? Mostly, scholarships and financial aid! Take a look at   The Secret to Paying $0 for College and Graduating Debt Free to learn more!

Student Loan Repayment Statistics and Facts

If you’re a borrower of federal student loans, then you’ve likely been enjoying the national pause on federal student loan payments. But that probably isn’t gonna last forever. Here are some facts and figures on how students and graduates repay their student loans. 

#8 When is the national pause on student loan payments set to end?

The official end date for the national pause on student loans has been extended a few times. But, currently, the pause is set to end on September 1, 2022. 

#9 How much is the average monthly student loan payment? 

The average student loan payment is $460 a month.  

#10 How long does it take the average borrower to repay their student loans? 

The average borrower takes 20 years to pay off their student loan debt. 

#11 What’s the best federal student loan repayment plan for people who want to pay off debt fast?

The Standard Repayment Plan is the best student loan repayment plan if you want to pay off your student loans as fast as possible. With this repayment plan, you’ll have a fixed monthly payment that ensures you pay off your loan in at least 10 years.

#12 What’s the best federal student loan repayment plan for people with low income?

For people with low income, the best student loan repayment plan will be one of the income-driven repayment plans. These plans include the Income-Based Repayment Plan, the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan, the Pay as You Earn Repayment Plan, and the Revised Pay as You Earn Repayment Plan. 

#13 What happens if you can’t pay back your student loans?

If you don’t pay your student loans, you will go into student loan default. This can have several negative consequences, including wage garnishment, damage to your credit score, and difficulty securing a loan in the future. 

But you do have the option to apply for forbearance or deferment, depending on your circumstances. Either option will pause your monthly payments for no more than 12 months at a time for forbearance and up to 3 years for deferment. With forbearance, your loans will continue to collect interest, which means your balance will continue to rise until you start paying it off. 

#14 Are there any scholarships that help with paying off student loans?

Yes, there are some scholarships that help with paying off student loans. We even have one at Scholly worth $25,000 if you win! Here’s a link to apply

#15 Do private student loans have repayment plans?

Yes, but they’re not like the federal student loan repayment plans. You’ll have to contact your lender to see what repayment plans they offer for private student loans.

Student Loan Forgiveness Statistics and Facts

If you have student loan debt, we know you’re probably curious about any federal initiatives to forgive or cancel student loan debt. Here are a few of the key facts and figures to know in 2022. 

#16 How much student loan debt has been forgiven under the Biden administration?

So far, the Biden administration has canceled around $25 billion in student loan debt. Unfortunately, this is still only a small fraction of the overall student loan debt.

Read more about how President Joe Biden’s administration has addressed student loan debt so far. 

#17 Will Biden ever cancel all student loan debt?

No one knows for sure. But it doesn’t look like Biden will cancel all student loan debt. However, there is a chance he’ll cancel $10,000 of student debt per borrower. You may also be able to get some of your debt canceled through student loan forgiveness programs.

#18 What is student loan forgiveness?

Student loan forgiveness is when a borrower is no longer responsible for repaying their student loans. There are a few different ways that you can have your student loans forgiven. 

One way is by enrolling in an income-driven repayment plan. With one of these repayment plans, the federal government will forgive all or part of your student loan debt if you make on-time payments for a certain number of years. 

Another way to have your student loans forgiven is through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. This program forgives student loan debt for borrowers who work full-time in qualifying public service jobs. 

Lastly, there are several student loan forgiveness programs offered by private organizations. These programs typically forgive student loan debt for borrowers who work in specific fields, such as nursing or law.

Read more about your options for student loan forgiveness programs

#19 What were the recent changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program?

You may have heard that recently the Biden administration made some changes to the PSLF program. These changes include: 

  • Expanding the eligibility criteria to include more types of loans and borrowers
  • Making it easier for borrowers to get their loans forgiven
  • Increasing the amount of money that can be forgiven

You can find more information by clicking the link above on student loan forgiveness programs.

#20 What is the “student loan forgiveness tax bomb”?

The student loan forgiveness tax bomb is when your forgiven student loans are considered taxable income by the IRS. This means that you could end up owing a lot of money in taxes on your forgiven student loans. However, there is some hope that the tax bomb issue will be fixed soon. 

#21 Are there private student loan forgiveness programs? 

Unfortunately, private student loan forgiveness programs don’t exist. If you’re having trouble paying off your private student loans, consider student loan refinancing, which could lead to more manageable repayment terms and lower monthly payments. 

Final Thoughts 

The student loan debt crisis is a major issue facing Americans today. And, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon. 

We hope the student loan debt statistics and facts we shared in this blog post help you make more informed decisions about taking out and paying off student loans. 

And, if you want more college finance tips, be sure to check out the rest of our blog where we discuss topics like how to apply for FAFSA, whether now is a good time to invest in the stock market, and how to win college scholarships!