Student Loan Debt Statistics in US

1 min readLast updated June 21, 2023by Charlie Barton

Explore the latest student loan debt statistics in the United States, including average debt amounts by credit cards, state, gender, race, age, degree level, and school type. Gain insights into the financial burdens faced by college students and the disparities across various demographics.

How much is the average American student in debt from credit cards?

Credit card debt is a growing concern among college students. According to College Finance, the average credit card debt for college students is over $3,280. This can be a significant burden for young adults who are just starting out in their financial lives.

Average Student Loan Debt by State

Average student debt varies significantly among states. Washington, D.C. has the highest average debt at $55,508, followed by Maryland, Georgia, Virginia, and South Carolina. Conversely, Utah has the lowest average debt at $13.77, followed by Hawaii, Wyoming, California, and Washington. These findings highlight the substantial differences in student debt burdens across different states.

Top 5 states with the highest average student debt (BestColleges Data):

  1. Washington, D.C.: $55,508

  2. Maryland: $43,619

  3. Georgia: $42,207

  4. Virginia: $39,892

  5. South Carolina: $38,915

Top 5 states with the lowest average student debt (Fox Business Data):

  1. Utah: 13.77

  2. Hawaii: 15.6

  3. Wyoming: 24.66

  4. California: 25.22

  5. Washington: 30.18

Average Student Loan Debt for Men and Women

Based on a report from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), in 2017, female graduates with a bachelor's degree carried an average student debt of $31,276, which was $1,486 higher than the average debt of their male counterparts. In comparison, men had an average student debt of $29,790.

Average Student Loan Debt by Gender (AAUW Data):

  1. Women: $31,276

  2. Men: $29,790

Average Student Loan Debt by Race

According to Forbes, Black adults have the highest percentage of individuals with student loan debt (50%) and the highest average balance ($9,800). White adults have a slightly lower percentage (44%) and average balance ($8,700), while Hispanic/Latino adults have the lowest percentage (37%) and average balance ($7,000). These findings indicate disparities in student loan debt across racial and ethnic groups.

Average Student Loan Debt by Race (Forbes Data):

  1. Black: $9,800

  2. White: $8,700

  3. Hispanic/Latino: $7,000

Average Student Loan Debt by Age

The average student loan debt varies across age groups. Individuals aged 35 to 49 and 50 to 61 have the highest average debt at around $42,000. Those aged 25 to 34 follow closely with an average debt of $33,817.56. Individuals aged 24 and younger have the lowest average debt at $14,807.69. These findings highlight the varying levels of student loan debt across different age ranges.

Average Student Loan Debt by Age (CNBC Data):

  1. 24 and younger: $14,807.69

  2. 25 to 34: $33,817.56

  3. 35 to 49: $42,373.23

  4. 50 to 61: $42,290.32

  5. 62 and older: $37,739.13

Student Loan Debt by Degree Level

According to CNBC, the average student debt for individuals with different degrees varies significantly. Bachelor's degree holders have an average debt of $28,950, while MBA graduates face an average debt of $66,300. Those with a master's degree have an average debt of $71,000, while law degree holders carry an average debt of $145,500. Medical degree graduates face the highest average debt at $201,490. These numbers reflect the varying levels of financial burden associated with different educational paths.

Student Loan Debt by Degree Level (CNBC Data):

  1. Medical degree: $201,490

  2. Law degree: $145,500

  3. Master's degree: $71,000

  4. MBA: $66,300

  5. Bachelor's degree: $28,950

Student Loan Debt by School Type

Data from CollegeBoard on 2020-21 bachelor's degree recipients indicates that students who attended private colleges and universities tend to accumulate more debt compared to those at public institutions. This can be attributed to the generally higher costs associated with private schools.

Student Loan Debt by School Type (CollegeBoard Data):

  1. Public college or university: $27,400

  2. Private nonprofit college or university: $33,000

Private vs. Federal Student Loan Debt

Federal student loans, governed by law, offer benefits such as fixed interest rates, income-driven repayment plans, and forgiveness programs. They have set borrowing limits based on loan type. In contrast, private student loans, provided by financial institutions, depend on creditworthiness and credit scores to determine interest rates. Repayment terms are typically stricter, with fewer benefits compared to federal loans. Private loans are commonly used to supplement the cost of education when federal loans are insufficient. 

According to Forbes, the total student loan debt in the United States stands at a staggering $1.75 trillion. Of this amount, approximately 92% consists of federal student loans, while the remaining portion is made up of private student loans.


Charlie Barton

Charlie Barton is a writer at Unbiased. He has been writing about personal finance and investing since 2017, with extensive knowledge of platforms and products. Charlie has a first-class degree from the London School of Economics.