5 Student Loan Debt Statistics You Won’t Believe
Everybody knows that student loan debt is a crisis in this country, but few people realize how serious and widespread it is. It’s a story best told by statistics, and those statistics show that it’s a problem for millions of Americans that shows no signs of abating. Here are five of the most surprising facts about the student debt crisis.
1. Student loan debt is a $1.5 trillion problem
Americans owe more than $1.53 trillion in student loan debt, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve, and that number shows no signs of diminishing anytime soon. About 44.7 million people have student debt.
The driving force behind this crisis has been rising tuition and room and board fees at public and private universities across the country. The cost of a college education has more than doubled in real terms since 1971, according to The College Board. This means that families must set aside larger and larger percentages of their income in order to save enough for a college education. And as they became increasingly unable to keep up, student loan debt soared.
2. The average 2018 graduate left school with $29,800 in debt
The average annual salary of a 2018 college graduate is $48,400, according to PayScale, which means $29,800 in debt is more than half of their salary. A significant portion of this money will go towards paying off student loans instead of saving for their future.
The average student’s debt is enough to put down a down payment on a house, buy a new car, pay for a wedding, or even start a business. But for most young adults, those dreams end up being put off for years, even decades, as they struggle to repay the cost of their education.
3. The average student loan payment is between $200 and $299 per month
According to the Federal Reserve, the average college graduate must pay between $200 and $299 a month to pay off student debt. If we assume that these graduates earn about $48,400 per year, that equates to about $4,033 in monthly earnings.
This means that between 5% and 7.5% of a new college graduate’s average total income is spent on their student loans. And keep in mind that their take home pay will actually be less than $4,033 per month because they will have taxes taken from their paychecks.
4. Nearly 11% of student loans were over 90 days past due
While this indicates that the majority of student borrowers are able to keep up with their payments enough to avoid defaults, a delinquency rate of 10.83% is high compared to other types of debt. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that while 10.83% of student borrowers cannot keep up with their payments, only 8.32% of those with credit card debt and only 4.64% of those who reimburse car loans had the same problem.
5. Only 56% of federal student loan debt is actually paid off
As of the second quarter of 2019, only 56% of outstanding federal student loan debt was being actively repaid, according to the Department of Education. The remaining 44% are either in default or pending. The most common reason students suspend their loans is that they are still in school or have just graduated and are not yet required to make payments, but to others place their loans in adjournment Where abstention because they are unable to meet the payments and cover their basic living expenses at the same time.
What to do if you’re having trouble repaying your student loan
There’s no easy solution to the student loan crisis, so it’s important to find a way to manage your student loan debt yourself. If you’re one of the millions of borrowers struggling to keep up with their payments, the first thing to do is contact your student loan officer to discuss your options. You may be able to switch to a different repayment plan or place your account on temporary deferment or forbearance to avoid default. Refinancing or consolidating multiple student loans into one can also make it easier for you to keep track of your payments.
Also consider lifestyle changes to free up more money, such as reducing discretionary spending, eating out less, and working a little more to increase your monthly cash flow. Also allocate your year-end bonuses and tax refunds to your student loan debt to help you pay it off faster.
If you are eligible for Public service debt forgiveness (PSLF), military debt forgivenessWhere teacher loan forgiveness, talk to your loan manager to find out what you need to do to qualify for these programs. Those who do not qualify for student loan forgiveness should seek out employers who offer student loan repayment assistance as a benefit.
Getting out of student loan debt will never be easy, but it is possible and the sooner you can do it, the easier it will be to save for your other long-term goals. Try some of the steps above if you haven’t already.