2022 Student Loan Statistics You Should Know

Posted on June 2, 2022 by Anna Klawitter

The latest student loan debt statistics show that student loan debt totals $1.75 trillion as of April 2022.

Higher education represents a path to financial prosperity and opportunity for millions of Americans. But, due to rising college costs, many students find it necessary to finance higher education with student loans. Unfortunately, some borrowers find it difficult to pay back their hefty debt upon graduation.

The cost of college has steadily increased over the last 30 years. In that timeframe, tuition costs at public four-year colleges grew from $4,160 to $10,740 and from $19,360 to $38,070 at private nonprofit institutions (adjusted for inflation). As costs have risen, so has the need for student loans and other financial aid forms.

When considering your options, it helps to look at the big picture and understand the full impact and scope of student loans. This is a snapshot of student loan debt in the United States in 2022.

Average Student Loan Debt

Here’s how that debt breaks down by loan type.

Loan typeAmount owedNumber of borrowers
Direct Unsubsidized
Direct Subsidized
$564 billion
$292 billion
34 million, combined
Grad PLUS$91 billion1.6 million
Parent PLUS$105 billion3.7 million
Perkins$4 billion1.5 million
Consolidation$555 billion11.3 million

Federal Student Loan Portfolio

Federal student loans make up the vast majority of American education debt—about 92% of all outstanding student loans are federal debt. The federal student loan portfolio currently totals more than $1.6 trillion, owed by about 43 million borrowers

Federal Student Loans by Age

Unsurprisingly; younger people hold the majority of student loan debt. Borrowers between the ages of 25 and 34 carry about $500 billion in federal student loans—the majority of people in this age group owe between $10,000 and $40,000.

However, people carry their education debt well into middle age and beyond. Borrowers ages 35 to 49 owe more than $620 billion in student loans. This cohort has the highest number of borrowers who owe more than $100,000 in loans.

Even retirees feel the pressure from student loans; 2.4 million borrowers aged 62 or older owe $98 billion in student loans.

Student Loan Repayment Statistics

Here are the current repayment statuses of the federal Direct Loan program.

Individual student loan debt statistics

Here’s how student loan debt in the U.S. impacts individual borrowers:

Student debt and mental health

Student loan debt can significantly impact a borrower’s mental health. Feelings of anxiety and stress may coincide with any long-term debt, especially if the debt impedes the ability to meet critical financial milestones, like saving for a house or buying a car.

Student loan debt by degree

Advanced degrees are expensive, but the investment could pay off. Here’s what you need to know before taking out graduate student loans, according to the Brookings Institute and MeasureOne:

Flexible Financing Could Be a Good Option For You

Under Flexible Financing Like Income Share Agreements; students have more options in higher education because they aren’t limited by finances.

 Because their future funding is dependent on graduates securing paid employment, many schools may offer job search assistance. This helps students feel secure when they are picking a school or program because they won’t have to make payments until they secure a job. 

Schools have little incentives to help graduates find a good-paying job post-graduation under traditional loans because their payments are not tied to the student’s income. A lender will likely have already paid them for your tuition. 

An alternative to traditional private student loans in America is long overdue. We believe flexible Financing is that change.


Posted under: Student Success, Student Loans

How Schools Can Prepare Their Students for the Professional World

Posted on November 5, 2021 by Anna Klawitter

What are the most important skills that students need to prepare for the 21st Century workforce? More importantly, how can educators, boot camps, and programs help kids gain these competencies? How are universities responding to preparing their students for future employment?

We’re going to break down the top ways schools can help prepare their students for the professional world.

1. Encourage Teamwork

One of the biggest things that students today need to succeed at work is the ability to work as a team. They need to understand how to communicate, compromise and share credit so that they can be a valuable contributing member to projects. This can be taught in school by encouraging teamwork on some projects and assignments.

Students who want a position of leadership should know how to work in teams, manage projects, and meet deadlines. While students may learn these skills in the workplace, there are steps teachers can take to help prepare them for these challenges. Teachers need to dispel the idea that working together is cheating or somehow not what happens in the professional world. In many workplaces, working in teams is a requirement for success. Students must be taught how to work in teams while honoring individual accountability. Part of that will be learning how to give and receive feedback constructively. The other part is self-awareness: an ability to monitor their own progress and realize when they could use coaching or additional materials.

2. Think Towards The Future

In many ways, real-life begins at graduation for students — they begin to put their knowledge into use and manage their own finances and life plans. So schools should focus not just on whether students have learned material, but where it will take students later. Will they be a financial, career, and personal success because of what they learned? And when students ask, “Will I ever even use this in real life?” have an answer — and an example of why they will.


3. Teach Complex Thinking Skills

In the current workplace, it’s not just about getting to the right end, but getting there by the best path. This is something that can be reinforced in colleges or bootcamps by giving students context for decision-making and solving problems.

Jobs in the modern workplace require innovation, creativity, and the ability to look at a task and not only see the outcome, but also imagine different ways to achieve it.  Colleges and universities need to do a better job of teaching these skills. They need to teach students how to think, not what to think.

4. Involve more employers with your school

Adding workplace skills to academic study benefits students, but it also has advantages for universities. Being in touch with employers helps enhance the profile of a university with employers and make them more likely to recruit there. In addition, many national ranking systems use some measure of employment success in their calculations.

Because it involves the students who get involved in a live interview with a real employer, it means that many more recruiters know about the university. Again, this is bound to feed into job offers and help increase the school’s notability.

5. Offer Alternative Financing

The Student Borrower Protection Center reported that outstanding traditional private student loan debt grew 71% in the last decade, outpacing auto loans, credit card debt, and mortgage debt. For many families, the economic pinch is making it even more difficult to qualify for private financial aid.

The private student loan market is dependent on FICO scores and cosigners, so if you don’t have parents with great credit scores that are willing to cosign for your traditional private loan, you’re likely not going to get approved for a private student loan.

There are even students with 700 FICO scores (normally high enough for approval at a good interest rate) being quoted 18-19% interest rates on their loans for college or being rejected outright if they don’t have a cosigner.

In other words, amid uncertain economic times, the barrier to entry into higher education has gotten even higher. News of these trends has spread to universities. A recent survey of university presidents from Inside Higher Ed found that 90% of respondents are concerned about a long-term decline in overall future student enrollment. 

Using Income Share Agreements, we can open the doors to higher education to millions of Americans that either went to college and dropped out because of lack of availability of traditional loans, or that never went in the first place.

By utilizing ISAs, programs have seen higher enrollment, improved retention, and accelerated completion.

Income Share Agreements are making strong headway in the education finance world. Being a financing option that can withstand economic uncertainties such as a pandemic makes them a good option for students and schools alike. 

To be successful today, students need certain skills and key traits to perform well in real-world settings. Teaching students the skills they need in today’s work world in college and bootcamps is important!


Meratas provides a full-service SaaS Platform for Schools and Skills-Training Courses to design, administer, and service custom ISA programs. We help institutions create impactful ISA programs designed to promote student accessibility and increase enrollment. 

Our programs are intended to incentivize students, schools, and capital providers to work together to promote and finance only the best educational programs that lead to more successful careers.

If you’re interested in offering an ISA option at your school or program that has been proven to increase student enrollment, there’s no better time to offer one than now! Click here to schedule a call with one of our ISA specialists and get your ISA program up and running today.

Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, Meratas Inc. makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of content contained herein. Meratas Inc

Posted under: School Resources, Student Success

Ask Yourself These Three Questions Before Going to a Coding Bootcamp

Posted on July 6, 2020 by Anna Klawitter

Bootcamps are an excellent way to get into a programming career if you are motivated but lack the skills to jump-start a career in coding. But, quitting your current job, possibly moving, and coming up with the cash to pay for tuition is no small commitment. 


Posted under: Career Guides, Student Success

Why Successful People Stay a Student and 5 Tips On How to Be One

Posted on July 10, 2020 by Anna Klawitter

“The secret of a successful man is he always sees himself as a student who learns from other people.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson 


Posted under: Career Guides, Student Success

9 Ways for College Students to Earn Money Online

Posted on March 14, 2022 by Anna Klawitter

9 Ways for College Students to Earn Money Online

The “broke college student” stereotype is part of our culture. Between paying for books and classes, paying for your dorm, and spending all your time studying, as a college student, you may often find yourself strapped for cash. But, just because you’re a college student doesn’t mean you have to be broke.

Posted under: Career Guides, Student Success

5 Traits To Develop To Thrive at a Coding Bootcamp

Posted on July 20, 2020 by Anna Klawitter

When deciding to go to a coding Bootcamp, there are several things that you should keep in mind.  Many application processes to coding Bootcamps can be intensive to ensure you’re ready for the dedication that the Bootcamp requires. So, in order to be successful,  before you start applying for coding programs there are some skills you’ll need to develop. Here are the top 5 traits that will help you succeed and optimize your time at your coding Bootcamp.


Posted under: Career Guides, Student Success

13 Pieces of Wisdom for Driven College Students to be Successful

Posted on July 24, 2020 by Anna Klawitter

You finally did it. You spent countless hours studying, writing papers, and money on Red Bulls but it’s finally over. Your college graduation is looming just over the horizon. It’s time to finally jump into the real world. Now you’re overwhelmed. You know how to be a successful student, but how are you going to be successful in the professional world?


Posted under: Student Success

10 Books Every College Graduate Should Read

Posted on July 27, 2020 by Anna Klawitter

Reading enables lifelong growth and encourages a commitment to personal development - common traits among history’s leaders, influencers, and change-makers. Whether or not you already have a reading list, these 10 books are must-reads. To grow professionally and make your mark on the world, it’s worth to start by changing yourself. Every one of the books on this list is meant to help you learn something and set you up for success.


Posted under: Career Guides, Student Success

8 Key Factors to Consider When You’re Applying to College

Posted on April 4, 2022 by Anna Klawitter

Selecting a college or university after high school isn’t as simple as picking out a new phone or deciding what you want for dinner. Choosing a college to apply to that is the perfect fit for you can be stressful.


Posted under: Student Success

8 Gap Year Activities that Will Look Great on Your Resume

Posted on August 24, 2020 by Anna Klawitter

More and more students are considering taking a gap year. It can be a great chance to make some extra money, gain experience, and learn more about yourself before you make a big decision, like committing to college or a certain career path.


Posted under: Career Guides, Student Success

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