The Student Loan Crisis Summed up in 15 Stats

From a recent article in the NY Times.

1. The balance of federal student loans has grown by more than 60 percent in the last five years.

2. The cost of tuition and fees has continued to increase faster than the rate of inflation, faster even than medical spending.

3. If the trends continue through 2016, the average cost of a public college will have more than doubled in just 15 years, according to the Department of Education.

4. 66 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients borrowed from the government or private lenders

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5. Education Department data shows that payments are being made on just 38 percent of the balance of federal student loans, down from 46 percent five years ago. The balances are unpaid because the borrowers are still in school, have postponed payments or have stopped paying altogether.

6. Roughly 11 percent of college students now attend for-profit colleges, and they receive about a quarter of federal student loans and grants.

7. Nearly one in 10 borrowers who started repayment in 2009 defaulted within two years, the latest data available — about double the rate in 2005.

8. Nationally, state and local spending per college student, adjusted for inflation, reached a 25-year low this year.

9. From 2001 to 2011, state and local financing per student declined by 24 percent nationally. Over the same period, tuition and fees at state schools increased 72 percent, compared with 29 percent for nonprofit private institutions, according to the College Board.

From a recent study by the NY Fed:

10. Of the 241 million people in the United States who have a credit report with Equifax about 15.4 percent—or 37 million—hold outstanding student loan debt.

11. The average outstanding student loan balance per borrower is $23,300. The median balance of $12,800 is roughly half the average level, which indicates that a small fraction of people have balances significantly higher than the median.

12. According to Time Magazine, $12,800 is actually less than the difference in annual earnings between those with a college degree and those with only a high school education.

13. $580 billion of the total $870* billion in student loan debt is owed by people younger than forty

* this study was done in 2011 and there is some differences in the level of debt quoted by the NY Federal Reserve and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who came out earlier this year with the $1 Trillion number.

14. Of the 37 million borrowers who have outstanding student loan balances as of third-quarter 2011, 14.4 percent, or about 5.4 million borrowers, have at least one past due student loan account. Together, these past due balances sum to $85 billion, or roughly 10 percent of the total outstanding student loan balance.

This is about the same as other types of debt, however there is more to the equation which makes the picture a lot worse than the above numbers represent:

15. You don’t have to start paying back federal student loans until 6 months after graduation.   Given that no payment is necessary until graduation, these deferred student loans are not included in the past due balance but they are included in the total balance from which the delinquency rate is derived.  This means that the delinquency rate is likely much higher.  (estimated to be around 27%)

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