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Who is a student with Student loan debts in America?

Millions of Americans depend upon the Federal government for funding the costs of attending college. Loans for education have been in existence for a long time, but borrowing really began to take off during the last two decades.

The rising cost of college, the increase in enrollment, adjustments in the lending structure of federal government, the labor market demand for certifications and a sluggish growth in wages have all led to the $1.6 trillion of outstanding students’ federal debt. This is not including debt that originated from the market in private. Federal lending, the system that provides the majority of the student loan is complicated. The system has many moving parts , and numerous people whose lives it has impacted.

The public’s awareness of the issue of student debt is on the rise amid debates over the forgiveness of loans. Biden announced on Wednesday that he would cancel Biden announced Wednesday that his administration will eraseup to $10,000 of federal student loan debt for a variety of students, and as much as $25,000 for Pell Grant recipients. Some critics of the policy say that the policy will disproportionately benefit those with a high income, while advocates claim that the burden on students is more complex.


This is how debt plays out.

How do you break the debt into pieces?

Around 13 percent from federal student loan debt are held in loans that have at least $20K outstanding…











…but 53 percent of borrowers owe less $20K











Around 1 in 5 Americans have student loans. More than half of the 45 million who have Federal student loans have less than $20,000 to pay. About three-quarters of all students owing lesser than $10,000. Seven percent of those who have federal debts owe over $100,000.

Economic experts of the Federal Reserve say those who have the lowest amount of debt usually aren’t able to pay back their loans. Sometimes, this is due to the fact that they didn’t complete an education. On the other hand, those who have the largest loan balances tend to be current on their loans, which is likely due to their higher education level and the corresponding earnings power as per The Federal Reserve.

After six extensions to repayment after under pressure from Congress and other activists The White House acts on federal student loans. (Video: Michael Cadenhead/The Washington Post)

These higher balances represent almost 40 percent of the $1.6 trillion of current federal student loan balances. The need to borrow for graduate programs is a major factor in the rise of federal loan. While borrowing for undergraduate degree programs decreased by $15 billion between the academic year 2010-11 to 2017-18, borrowing for graduate degrees by $2.3 billion over the same time according to the National Center for Education Statistics.


Who is the holder of student debt?

Percent of Americans in each age group that owe:

$10K or less




$100K or more

No debt

24% of students have student loans

76% of them do not have student loans















Student loan debt is the most common in Americans between the ages of 25 and 34. Sixty-seven percent of borrowers who take out student loans are younger than 40 as per the New York Federal Reserve however only 57 percent of the balances are owed by borrowers who are younger than 40. That is, those who have larger amounts are more likely to age because they borrowed to fund graduate school.

One of the fastest-growing categories of borrowers with student loans in the last two decades is Black students and those aged 50 and over according to latest Federal Reserve data. The median household income of those who have students loans of $76,400 while 7 percent the borrowers fall below poverty threshold.

How did that money where did the money

While the majority of undergraduate students go to public four- and two-year colleges approximately half of the outstanding student loans are comprised of students who attended private institutions. In the case of private schools that are for profit, for-profit colleges comprise 17 percent of loans, while private institutions account for 34 percent.


Colleges that are for-profit were more likely to pay back their loans than other students as per research by the Federal Reserve. Fed economists claim that that high costs and poor returns for enrollment at for-profit institutions result in more student debt and poor the repayment outcomes. They found that over one-fourth of students who went to for-profit schools fell behind in their payments, as compared to 10% of those who attended public institutions, and 5 percent of students who went to private institutions that were not for profit.



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