Blog | Min Read 3

Scary Student Loan Statistics (and what you can do about them)

Halloween is here!

And yet, despite all the creepy decorations, there’s something even more wicked on the horizon:

the student loan crisis

While we wish we could report that the numbers have improved, they’ve sadly gotten worse.

College is more expensive than ever, families are tapping their savings accounts to pay for tuition, and students and parents alike are taking out massive loans that will take decades (and even entire lifetimes) to pay off. 

The cycle repeats, and the loan crisis gets worse.

Beware! Don’t go any further if you hope to avoid the stark reality of the scariest student loan statistics facing Americans today. 

1. Over 45 Million Graduates Owe $1.7 Trillion in Loan Debt

Typically, it’s good to have something in common with your fellow Americans.

In this particular case, however, you want to be as far away from the masses as possible.

Why? Because over 45 million Americans owe $1.7 trillion in loan debt, and the average college student graduates with over $30,000 in debt.

Remember, that’s the average

In the deep end of the debt pool, over 3.6 million borrowers have between $50,000 – $75,000 in debt. 

Worse yet, over 2.5 million borrowers finish college with over $100,000 in debt. And within that same group of borrowers, over 610,000 Americans have loan debt in excess of $200,000. 

Had enough yet? 

Hang on. While these numbers are shocking, they’re still not quite as scary as the amount of time it takes to pay down such debts. 

2.  It Takes An Average of 21 Years To Pay Off Loans

Above all else, college is an investment. As with any investment, you should expect to generate a sizable return.

After all, students commit significant financial resources and dedicate four years of their lives to get a degree and launch their careers. 

Unfortunately, this investment can take over two decades to pay down. 

In fact, recent statistics show the average length of student loan repayment is a whopping 21.1 years

In other words, the majority of high school seniors who click “Accept Loan” will be paying them off until they’re in their early 40s. 

But for some borrowers, getting debt-free at 40 would seem miraculous…

3.  22% of the Student-Debt Load is Held by Borrowers Aged 50+

By now, the theme of this article is clear: the debt averages are awful, but they’re only the tip of the iceberg.

So while it may take an average of 21 years for graduates to become debt-free, the outliers of that statistic are downright horrific.

Why? Because millions of Americans between the age of 50 and 64 are still embroiled in student loan debt

According to Senator Elizabeth Warren, 

Student debt isn’t just crushing young people: 6.3 million borrowers ages 50 to 64 and
nearly a million people over 65 are still paying for a loved one’s education or their own.
Student debt is also one of the biggest contributors to the rise in the amount of debt
seniors hold overall.

You read that correctly: there are over 6.3 million between the ages of 50 to 64 who are still paying off their student loans (or the loans of a relative).

In other words, the student loan crisis is weighing heavily on those who should be enjoying their retirement and the fruit of their labor. 

Take Linda Navarro, for example, who borrowed $20,000 for graduate school back in 1990. 

Despite her best efforts, Navarro still has an estimated payback of $212,544, a number she acknowledges will likely never be paid off:

There’s a real fear of dying in this. And the best part is that my family has to prove that I died so the loan will die as well.” 

Talk about spooky. The student loan crisis is literally following some people to their graves. 

4.  33% of Parents Regret Accepting Parent PLUS loans

It’s not just students who are buried in debt. It’s parents, too. 

While Parent PLUS loans provide an attractive path to practically unlimited funds, they are drowning many families in debt.  

And while undergraduate debt generates the most media attention, the median Parent PLUS loan debt is creeping towards $30,000 per family

That’s no small number. In total, parents owe $103.6 billion in parents PLUS loans.

To make matters worse, over 28% of these same parents are expecting to receive sweeping loan forgiveness, though the odds of that happening seem increasingly unlikely. 

Still, it’s hard to blame them for staying optimistic. One family recently admitted to amassing Parent PLUS loans in excess of $220,000. 

Had their loans not been put into forbearance, they would have required monthly payments of $5,000.

The ghosts of unpaid student loans never die. 

Moving Forward

At CAP, we’ll gladly deal with ghouls, graveyards, and goblins before we join these frightening statistics. 

And that’s why we built our software: to help protect families from the student loan crisis.

With our advanced tools, you can find the right college at the right price and get a future-focused look at everything you need to know.

In a matter of minutes, you’ll be able to see:

  • Exactly what you’ll pay for college (with scholarships, grants, and merit aid included)
  • Exactly what your expected monthly student loan payments 
  • Exactly what your student’s expected salary will be (one, five, and ten years after graduating!)
  • And so much more!

No more secrets. No more questions. Only answers.

That’s our commitment to college-bound families. 

Don't Just Take Our Word For It

Sign Up for Your Free MyCAP Account

Related Articles

Good luck to your student on making the final college choice! It’s important to think through all the aspects. We invite you to take advantage of MyCAP for comparing offers and we are here to help if you need us!
A college’s location and reputation are important, but there are more essential factors to consider. Ask these three questions to get started.
CAP is growing, and we’re thrilled to introduce the newest member of our ever-expanding team!