Students must be able to afford college without risky levels or types of debt, to enroll and complete a degree. Since 2005, our Project on Student Debt has worked to reduce the burden of student loan debt and increase public understanding of debt and its implications for families, the economy, and society.

Student Debt and the Class of 2019

More than six in ten (62%) college seniors who graduated from public and private nonprofit colleges in 2019 had student loan debt and they owed an average of $28,950. This is a lower share of students than the Class of 2018 (65%), and a very slight decline (less than 1%) in total debt from the 2018 average of $29,200.

The slowing and recent pause in student debt growth for college graduates is encouraging news. Increases in state spending and grant aid are both likely contributing factors, as well as broader economic improvements in the years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the public health crisis has already reshaped the higher education landscape in important ways and placed profound financial pressures on states, colleges, and students that could already be making college less affordable and increase reliance on student debt.


Reports

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Casualties of College Debt: What Data Show and Experts Say About Who Defaults and Why

Casualties of College Debt: What Data Show and Experts Say About Who Defaults and Why

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The Self-Defeating Consequences of Student Loan Default

The Self-Defeating Consequences of Student Loan Default

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Press Releases & Statements

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New Report Documents Who Defaults and Why, Underscores Need for Reform

New Report Documents Who Defaults and Why, Underscores Need for Reform

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New Analysis Finds Unequal Debt Burdens among University of California Undergraduates

New Analysis Finds Unequal Debt Burdens among University of California Undergraduates

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Fact Sheets

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Quick Facts About Student Debt

Quick Facts About Student Debt

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Private Loans Facts and Trends

Private Loans Facts and Trends

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Blog Posts

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A Popular Student Loan Fix Has Been Stalled for Years. It’s Time to Act.

A Popular Student Loan Fix Has Been Stalled for Years. It’s Time to Act.

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Plans to Streamline Income-Driven Repayment Show Both Overlap and Divergence

Plans to Streamline Income-Driven Repayment Show Both Overlap and Divergence

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