Student Loan Debt Portfolio Profile*
- Total indebtedness $1.6 Trillion
- Total number of borrowers, about 45 million
- Percent of U.S. population with indebtedness
- 14 percent
- More than half have balances of less than $25,000
- Approximately 80 percent have balances less than $50,000
- 91 percent less than $75,000
- 8 percent exceeding $100,000
- About 1.0 percent are 60 years old and over
*Additional profile details available at;
There is abundant data to support the thesis of an existing/impending student loan debt crisis and its far reaching impact on borrowers and the economy. Below are some suggested actions that you/your institution may wish to advocate to policymakers.
STUDENT LOAN DEBT MITIGANTS
- Increase availability of Pell Grants
- Limit unrestricted PLUS loan borrowing
- Implement “Know Before You Owe” disclosures
- Require school FA award notifications to clarify, in detail, self-help aid from gift aid
- Require school certification of private education loans
- Require ED to publish detailed reports of the direct loan portfolio
Almost half of young adults have student loan debt. And 36% of college graduates paying off student loans say now that taking on that debt wasn’t worth it, according to a new report by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, which surveyed over 2,700 early adults (defined here as those ages 18 to 34).
A smaller poll by GoBankingRates recently arrived at similar conclusions: It found that, while a vast majority of Americans with college degrees don’t regret college itself, many do say the student debt they incurred wasn’t worth it.
Researcher concludes that increase in Grad PLUS loans did not drive up the price of medical and business schools or increase debt burden of those who enrolled.
The “Bennett hypothesis” — the subject of much debate among think tank analysts and higher ed researchers and in these pages — holds that increases in federal financial aid give colleges and universities subsidies that “blithely” allow them to raise their tuitions. (The eponym for the hypothesis, then education secretary William J. Bennett, had a way with words.)
The belief that this is so continues to influence federal policy makers with a small-government point of view — including members of the Trump administration who have cited it as justification for proposals to constrain certain student loan programs.
According to the latest student loan debt statistics, there are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. Today, according to personal finance site Make Lemonade, student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category – second only to mortgages and higher than credit card debt and auto loans. By 2023, 40% of student loan borrowers may default on their student loans.
Some of the 2020 presidential candidates have weighed in on the future of higher education, how to manage growing student loan debt, and how topay off student loans faster
. While this list does not include all candidates for president or all aspects of a candidate’s position on student loans, expect each of the candidates to release more in-depth policy proposals regarding student loans as the campaign progresses.