Student Loan Coronavirus Data Snapshot: Facts & Figures

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As the U.S. government implements its coronavirus student debt relief plan, here are some underlying figures to help you understand how much such proposals might help.

In the charts below, we’ll focus on federal student loans, as they represent the bulk of outstanding debt. Have a look to gauge the lay of the land as leaders in Washington attempt to deal with the college debt in the era of the coronavirus.

20 million Americans have an average $276 monthly federal student loan bill

Borrowers accrue $158 in interest every month, on average, $5.3 billion altogether

Monthly payments and outstanding balances vary widely across the states

Most borrowers owe less than $20,000, but not in all states

Gen Xers and boomers carry bigger balances than millennials

African-American college grads carry bigger debts than other races and ethnicities

Fewer than half of student borrowers have active monthly payments

85% of borrowers are current on their monthly bills (excluding collections)

Fewer than half of borrowers in repayment are on a 10-year payoff plan

The vast majority Direct loan borrowers in deferment are still in school

Discretionary forbearance is the most common type

Plenty of borrowers – especially parents – use alternative debt to pay for school


Department of Education data as of December 31, 2019; 2019 Federal Student Aid annual report ; “Trends in Student Aid 2019,” The College Board; anonymized My LendingTree credit reports..

Published in News & Policy