For the seven in ten college graduates with student loans, managing education debt is a solitary struggle. If you find yourself as a member of this silent majority, it can be difficult to understand your own debt burden in the wider context of the ongoing national crisis that fills in the headlines.
To help provide some perspective, I’ve put together the list of charts below, with the help of my team at Credible, to help young graduates across the country understand where they fit in 40 million person crowd of student loan debt holders.
1. Student Debt by State: Average balance per borrower by region, showing concentrations of debt in the northeast and southeast. The current average debt at graduation ranges from $18,656 to $32,795.
2. Student Loan Percentage of Total Financial Assets: Student loans comprise 45.3% of total federal assets, up from 37.2% at the end of 2012. This is roughly 6.3 times larger than the percent of Total Mortgages outstanding.
3. Student Debt by Household Net Worth: Those with a total net worth of less than $8,500 (the bottom 25%) are shouldering almost 60% of the nation’s student debt burden. More recent studies have shown an increased impact on upper middle class families that are trying to pay for college.
4. Loan Balance Percent of Income: In 2012, the median salary for workers with a bachelor’s degree was $46,900 per year, while the average student loan balance for people under 30 was $21,400. Even after adjusting for inflation, average student debt has increased 35% since 2005.
5. Debt by Advanced Degrees: Graduate students are estimated to account for around 40% of the $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loans, even thought they make up only 14% of total university enrollment. Within an eight year time span, the price of an advanced degree has increased considerably.
6. Delinquency by Loan Type: Approximately 13.7% of student loan borrowers defaulted on their loans within three years of entering repayment. Over the past several fiscal quarters, student loans have the highest delinquency rate of all loan types.
Wherever you stack up, it is important to know that you are not alone. More importantly, there are a number of options available, including loan forgiveness, income-driven repayment, and student loan refinancing, that many other graduates are making use of to ease their debt burdens and save money. Educating yourself on these options is the first step you can take toward freeing yourself from your student debt.