Average student loan debt by state, age & more

Student working on her laptop

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

The average student loan debt is $37,557.60 per borrower, though the exact amount varies significantly from person to person.

Conversations around student loan debt forgiveness have called to attention a staggering statistic: in the middle of 2023, Americans held a collective $1.63 trillion in federal student loans spread amongst more than 43 million borrowers.

The average student loan debt is $37,557.60 per borrower, though the exact amount varies significantly from person to person depending on age, gender and education level, among other characteristics.

The following chart captures the staggering rise of average student loan debt since 2007 by displaying the average debt, total debt and total number of borrowers and how they have changed over time.

Average student loan debt over time
Year Average debt Total debt Borrowers
2007 $18,233.22 $516 billion 28.3 million
2008 $19,297.66 $577 billion 29.9 million
2009 $20,467.29 $657 billion 32.1 million
2010 $21,865.89 $750 billion 34.3 million
2011 $23,232.88 $848 billion 36.5 million
2012 $24,751.96 $948 billion 38.3 million
2013 $26,262.63 $1.04 trillion 39.6 million
2014 $27,764.13 $1.13 trillion 40.7 million
2015 $29,086.54 $1.21 trillion 41.6 million
2016 $30,732.86 $1.30 trillion 42.3 million
2017 $32,159.62 $1.37 trillion 42.6 million
2018 $33,566.43 $1.44 trillion 42.9 million
2019 $35,198.14 $1.51 trillion 42.9 million
2020 $36,596.74 $1.57 trillion 42.9 million
2021 $37,096.77 $1.61 trillion 43.4 million
2022 $37,471.26 $1.63 trillion 43.5 million
2023 $37,557.60 $1.63 trillion 43.4 million

Source: U.S. Department of Education

After accounting for inflation, the average student loan debt has increased by more than 50 percent since 2007. According to the Pew Research Center, the median purchasing power of Americans has hardly risen in the past four decades, so it stands to reason that student loan debt is an ever-increasing source of financial burden.

Student loan debt has ballooned over the past 15 years. At the beginning of 2007, just 28 million borrowers held around $500 billion in student loan debt—or an average of $18,233 per borrower. In 2023, the number of borrowers increased to about 43 million, who collectively hold more than $1.6 trillion in debt, which amounts to an average of $37,557.60 per person.

Although average student loan debt is more than $37,000, this figure is somewhat skewed since some students have extraordinarily large sums of debt that raise the overall average. The greatest number of borrowers owe just $10,000 to $20,000 in student loans, but more than 3 million are over $100,000 in debt from federal student loans.

Using the most recent available data from the U.S. Department of Education, we’ve compiled detailed statistics about the average student loan debt for Americans. Read on to see more, or use the links below to jump to a specific section.

Average student loan debt:

Average student loan debt by state

While student loan debt is a national concern, the effects are felt differently in various states across the country. Many states have average student loan debt that hovers around the $37,645 national average, but there are several notable outliers. North Dakota, for instance, has the lowest average student loan debt at $30,000, while Maryland has the highest average student loan debt at $43,115.

Though they are not technically states, the District of Columbia has a very high average student loan debt of $54,347, and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico has a relatively low average student loan debt of $29,577.

Here’s a list of U.S. states along with their average student loan debt, total student loan debt and total borrowers using data as of June 30, 2023.

Average student loan debt by state
State Average debt Total debt Borrowers
Alabama $37,265.17 $24.2 billion 649,400
Alaska $34,493.45 $2.4 billion 68,700
Arizona $35,543.01 $32.5 billion 917,300
Arkansas $33,508.38 $13.4 billion 399,900
California $37,343.36 $149 billion 3.99 million
Colorado $36,939.31 $29.4 billion 795,900
Connecticut $36,055.35 $18.5 billion 513,100
Delaware $38,173.65 $5.1 billion 133,600
District of Columbia $54,347.83 $6.5 billion 119,600
Florida $39,037.04 $105.4 billion 2.7 million
Georgia $41,529.41 $70.6 billion 1.7 million
Hawaii $37,995.15 $4.7 billion 123,700
Idaho $33,139.27 $7.4 billion 223,300
Illinois $39,437.50 $63.1 billion 1.6 million
Indiana $33,105.92 $30.3 billion 918,300
Iowa $30,758.71 $13.5 billion 438,900
Kansas $33,127.89 $12.9 billion 389,400
Kentucky $33,110.42 $20.3 billion 613,100
Louisiana $34,777.39 $23.2 billion 667,100
Maine $33,854.42 $6.5 billion 192,000
Maryland $43,115.60 $36.7 billion 851,200
Massachusetts $34,922.69 $32.3 billion 924,900
Michigan $36,928.57 $51.7 billion 1.4 million
Minnesota $33,953.31 $27.2 billion 801,100
Mississippi $36,904.50 $16.5 billion 447,100
Missouri $35,536.60 $30 billion 844,200
Montana $33,690.66 $4.4 billion 130,600
Nebraska $32,449.54 $8.2 billion 252,700
Nevada $33,996.68 $12.3 billion 361,800
New Hampshire $34,341.36 $6.7 billion 195,100
New Jersey $35,416.67 $44.9 billion 1.2 million
New Mexico $34,022.39 $7.9 billion 232,200
New York $37,960.00 $94.9 billion 2.5 million
North Carolina $36,857.14 $51.6 billion 1.4 million
North Dakota $30,000.00 $2.7 billion 90,000
Ohio $35,000.00 $63 billion 1.8 million
Oklahoma $31,874.88 $16.1 billion 505,100
Oregon $37,415.59 $20.5 billion 547,900
Pennsylvania $35,000.00 $66.5 billion 1.9 million
Puerto Rico $29,577.05 $10 billion 338,100
Rhode Island $32,885.91 $4.9 billion 149,000
South Carolina $38,360.14 $29.1 billion 758,600
South Dakota $31,746.03 $3.8 billion 119,700
Tennessee $36,557.93 $32.5 billion 889,000
Texas $33,447.37 $127.1 billion 3.8 million
Utah $33,125.00 $10.6 billion 320,000
Vermont $38,071.07 $3 billion 78,800
Virginia $39,818.18 $43.8 billion 1.1 million
Washington $36,176.03 $29.1 billion 804,400
West Virginia $32,159.93 $7.4 billion 230,100
Wisconsin $32,231.85 $23.8 billion 738,400
Wyoming $30,357.14 $1.7 billion 56,000

Source: U.S. Department of Education

Total student loan debt for each state correlates strongly with population, so California ($149 billion), Texas ($127.1 billion) and New York ($94.9 billion) have the largest amount of debt among all states. The smallest amount of debt belongs to Wyoming, which holds just $1.7 billion among 56,000 borrowers—though that is nearly 10 percent of the state’s population with some sort of student loan debt.

Average student loan debt by age

Student loan debt varies significantly by age, with those ages 50 to 61 holding the highest average debt at $45,584.62. On the other hand, the greatest number of borrowers are ages 25 to 34 (14.9 million total borrowers), and the greatest amount of debt is held by those ages 35 to 49 ($613 billion total debt). Those 62 or older represent less than 6 percent of total borrowers who hold just $92 billion—less than any other age group.

The following chart shows the average student loan debt, total student loan debt and number of borrowers for each major age group.

Average student loan debt by age
Age Average debt Total debt Borrowers
24 and younger $14,383.35 $97.8 billion 6.8 million
25 to 34 $32,801.32 $495.3 billion 15.1 million
35 to 49 $43,000.00 $632.1 billion 14.7 million
50 to 61 $45,584.62 $296.3 billion 6.5 million
62 and older $42,518.52 $114.8 billion 2.7 million

Source: U.S. Department of Education

The average debt for each age group is skewed slightly upward by a small number of people who hold a significant amount of student loan debt—in some cases $200,000 or more. Across borrowers ages 25 to 61, it is most common to have between $20,000 and $40,000 of student loan debt, whereas those under 25 generally have between $10,000 and $20,000. Most borrowers above age 62 have less than $5,000 in debt.

Across all age groups, a total of 11.7 million borrowers owe more than $40,000 in student loan debt—meaning around 25 percent of total borrowers have more debt than average.

Average student loan debt by race and gender

Student loan debt is not distributed equally among races and genders, as borrowing patterns tend to vary substantially. While Asian students tend to borrow the least amount of money to fund their education, Black students tend to borrow the most. In general, a smaller percentage of white students (67 percent) and Asian students (43 percent) took out loans for their education than Hispanic students (70 percent) and Black students (86 percent).

Here is a full look at how students of different races and genders funded their education using student loans.

Average student loan amount borrowed by race and gender
Race or ethnicity Gender Average borrowed
White Male $29,862
Female $31,346
Black or African American Male $35,665
Female $37,558
Hispanic or Latino Male $27,452
Female $27,029
Asian Male $25,507
Female $25,252

Source: American Association of University Women

Many women take loans out for four-year for-profit universities, which tend to charge higher tuition, leading to larger student loan burdens after graduation. The American Association of University Women found that women hold nearly two-thirds of student loan debt, and many women manage debt payments while also managing housing, food or childcare costs on an average post-graduation salary of about $35,000.

Among Black women, 57 percent of college graduates report difficulty repaying student loans despite earning a bachelor’s degree or higher. A 2022 study by The Education Trust also found that 12 years after enrolling in college, Black women find themselves owing 13 percent more than the amount they initially borrowed, whereas White men have managed to reduce their debt by 44 percent in the same time frame.

Average student loan debt by repayment status

The average student loan debt varies according to repayment status, as student loans are treated differently for students in school, throughout the post-graduation grace period, amid repayment or during deferment, forbearance or default. For students in school and during the post-graduation grace period, no payments are required—though interest may continue to accrue for unsubsidized loans. Deferment and forbearance are similar, though no interest accrues with deferment as it typically does with forbearance.

The following chart shows the average student loan debt for those with different repayment statuses. Keep in mind that the below chart is based on data from Q3 2023. Prior to that, in March 2020, many major shifts occurred in loan statuses due to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The following chart shows the average student loan debt for those with different repayment statuses. 

Average student loan debt by repayment status
Status Average debt Total debt Borrowers
In school $17,903.85 $93.1 billion 5.2 million
Grace $23,923.08 $31.1 billion 1.3 million
Repayment $33,000.00 $9.9 billion 300,000
Deferment $36,571.43 $102.4 billion 2.8 million
Forbearance $40,260.07 $1,099.1 trillion 27.3 million
Default $21,844.44 $98.3 billion 4.5 million

Source: U.S. Department of Education

While temporary government action has offered reprieve to millions of student loan borrowers, a looming financial crisis still threatens as high-interest loans prevent many people from accumulating wealth, purchasing homes or starting families.

Total student loan debt has tripled over the past 15 years—and in that time, it has passed both auto loans and credit card debt for the greatest share of non-housing debt in the United States, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank.

With student loan debt on the rise, many people were struggling to make payments before the CARES Act. Now that payments have restarted as of October 2023, you’ll want to make sure you’re making payments on time. Student loan debt and payments can have an impact on your credit, so getting a handle on that debt is crucial.

If you need help with cleaning up your credit report or getting your credit back on track, our services at Lexington Law Firm could help. The combination of debt from student loans, credit cards, mortgages and auto loans can be overwhelming and make it hard to maintain good credit, but professional support can provide the boost you need to overcome these temporary obstacles.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

Reviewed By

Alexis Peacock

Supervising Attorney

Alexis Peacock was born in Santa Cruz, California and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona. In 2013, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology, graduating cum laude from Arizona State University. Ms. Peacock received her Juris Doctor from Arizona Summit Law School and graduated in 2016. Prior to joining Lexington Law Firm, Ms. Peacock worked in Criminal Defense as both a paralegal and practicing attorney. Ms. Peacock represented clients in criminal matters varying from minor traffic infractions to serious felony cases. Alexis is licensed to practice law in Arizona. She is located in the Phoenix office.