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Student Loan Milestones

on May 26, 2017

Total outstanding student loan debt has reached several major milestones in the past few years, demonstrating that student loans are a macroeconomic factor.

 

These are some of the most significant “firsts” reached by federal and private student loans.

 

1994 Average debt at graduation for a Bachelor’s degree reaches $10,000

 

1995 More than half of Bachelor’s degree recipients graduate with student loan debt

 

2003 More than 1 million Bachelor’s degree recipients graduated with student loan debt

 

2008 Number of borrowers of federal loans outstanding reaches 30 million

 

2008 More than two thirds of Bachelor’s degree recipients graduate with student loan debt

 

2010 Federal and private student loan debt outstanding exceeds credit card debt

 

2010 Average debt at graduation for a Bachelor’s degree reaches $25,000

 

2011 Federal and private student loan debt outstanding exceeds auto loan debt

 

2011 New federal student loan disbursements exceed $100 billion

 

2012 Federal and private student loan debt reaches $1 trillion

 

2013 Federal student loan debt reaches $1 trillion on its own

 

2013 Number of borrowers of federal loans reaches 40 million

 

2013 More than 10% of borrowers and more than 20% of loan dollars in the Direct Loan program are in income-driven repayment plans

 

2013 New federal education loan volume drops as the economy improves

 

2014 Cohort default rates drop for the first time since the start of the economic downturn

 

2014 Total federal student loans in default exceeds $100 billion


2016 More than 25% of borrowers and more than 40% of loan dollars in the Direct Loan program are in income-driven repayment plans

 

2017 Federal student loan debt in the Direct Loan program reaches $1 trillion

 

Assuming that current trends continue, federal and private student loan debt outstanding will reach $2 trillion in the year 2022. Total student loan debt outstanding is predictable because of the almost linear shape of the graph of outstanding student loan debt over time.

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