Private Loans Facts and Trends
Private loans are one of the riskiest ways to finance a college education. Like credit cards, they usually have variable interest rates that are higher for those who can least afford them. Analysis of federal data from 2015-16 reveals that less than half of private loan borrowers use the maximum amount of more affordable federal loans.
Quick Facts About Student Debt
Useful two-page fact sheet about average student debt across all sectors of higher education, and specific groups of BA graduates who carry disproportionate debt burdens.
Federal Student Loan Terms for 2018-19
Summarizes loan limits, interest rates, and other terms for federal student loans issued from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.
Students at Greatest Risk of Loan Default
This analysis of nationally representative data shows that certain groups of students are far more likely to default on their federal loans than others: those who attended for-profit colleges, Pell Grant recipients, first-generation students, and African-American students. Completion matters, but it doesn't adequately protect vulnerable students from default.
This analysis of College Scorecard data focuses on colleges where most students borrow and less than half of borrowers have paid down even $1 of their loan principal, 7 years into repayment. At half of all for-profit colleges, most students borrow and few can repay. African-American students, Pell Grant recipients, and first-generation students all disproportionately enroll at colleges where most students borrow and few repay.
Private student loans are one of the riskiest ways to finance a college education. Like credit cards, they usually have variable interest rates that are higher for those who can least afford them. Analysis of federal data from 2011-12 reveals almost half of borrowers could be using more affordable federal loans.
Some community colleges have expressed concerns that their students borrow more than they need in federal loans. However, the data do not support claims of "over-borrowing" at community colleges. The vast majority of community college students do not borrow federal loans at all, and the few who do borrow do not take out large loan amounts.
Some for-profit college industry lobbyists blame students for the high debt and default levels at their schools, claiming that their students borrow more than they need in federal loans. However, there is no evidence to support this claim, and giving colleges greater authority to reduce aid eligibility will make it harder for students to pay for and complete college.
Useful one-page fact sheet about average student debt across all sectors of higher education and Pell Grants.
This fact sheet focuses on students who borrow $40,000 or more for their undergraduate education - almost twice the average debt for four-year college graduates. While still a minority, the number of students carrying such heavy debt is growing quickly.
This fact sheet focuses on community college students who apply for financial aid and attend full time. About one in four full-time college students in the U.S. - 2.2 million students - attends a community college.
This fact sheet compares the California Community College (CCC) financial aid application rates to the rest of the country, and also examines the inadequacy of financial aid that some CCC students do receive.