Average Public Student Loan Debt Has Risen 67% Since 2000

Undergraduates coming out of college with their Bachelor’s degrees in 2016 had an average of $26,032 in public student loan debt. This number only takes into account how much has been loaned out over the course of a degree, not including accumulating interest on unsubsidized loans, graduate school loans, private student loans, or how the balance changes after graduation.

Since 2000, student loan debt has gone up remarkably from an average of a little over $15,000 to more than $26,000 today.

16 years ago, private student loans were rarely seen, but when federal law changed in 2005 making student loans non-dischargable under bankruptcy proceedings, the private student loan industry took off. Including this information, as well as the fact that 50% of student loans are not being paid back on a standard schedule, means that the real student loan average is probably much higher.

One of the easiest ways students can avoid falling into a massive student loan hole is to find a job, even part-time, that doesn’t interfere with schoolwork. While this is easier said than done with some students, most people should be able to find something to work around their schedule. It will probably not eliminate the need for student loans, but it can help reduce the burden.

The increased student loan totals are having a noticeable affect on other aspects of millennial life, seeing as younger adults are staying home in greater numbers than in the past few decades.

Lower credit scores are something that many student loan holders run into without even realizing it. You can see for yourself how student loans are affecting your credit, which determines your eligibility for car loans, credit cards and about any other line of credit.

Americans as a whole hold more than $1,300,000,000,000 in public student loan debt and the number seems to just keep growing. Universities probably will not be lowering their fees anytime in the near future and unless there is a renewed push for those fresh out of high school to take classes at a community college before finishing their degree, the average amount of debt each student holds will keep increasing.