6 facts about how student debt is growing

Average borrower in the class of 2019 owes $29,076 in student loan debt compared to the $28,565 for the class of 2018
By: | August 19, 2020
More than half of graduates from the class of 2019 at nonprofit 4-year public and private colleges and universities had student loan debt. (GettyImages/Darren415)More than half of graduates from the class of 2019 at nonprofit 4-year public and private colleges and universities had student loan debt. (GettyImages/Darren415)

Student loan debt swelled to $1.67 trillion while continuing campus COVID disruptions have left students and their families growing leerier of the costs of earning a degree, according to a report released Wednesday.

The average borrower in the class of 2019 owes $29,076 in student loan debt, compared to the $28,565 borrowed by the average class of 2018 student, according to the fifth annual LendEDU Student Loan Debt by School by State Report.

The study includes an interactive map of state by state student loan data.

The states with the least debt: Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Florida, Wyoming, Arkansas, Louisiana, Hawaii, Nebraska and Texas.


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The states with the most: Connecticut, New Hampshire, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maine, North Dakota, Minnesota, Maryland, South Carolina and New Jersey.

LendEDU’a report also breaks debt down by school, separating data for public and private institutions, and shows how each college and university compares nationally.

Student loan debt 

Here are the report’s other key findings:

  • The average loan debt for a class of 2019 borrower was $29,076, compared to $28,565 for the class of 2018.
  • When including those students without student loans, the average class of 2019 graduate had $15,919 in debt, a decline of $730 from the class of 2018.
  • 54.75% of 2019 graduates at nonprofit 4-year public and private colleges had student loan debt, a slight decline from 56.99% for the class of 2018.
  • Class of 2019 borrowers from private institutions left school with $31,556 in student loan debt; borrowers from public institutions left with $28,501 in debt.
  • Of the 237 colleges with the highest 2019 loan debt per borrower, 59.07% of the institutions were private, while 40.93% were public.
  • Of the 238 colleges with the lowest loan debt per borrower, 66.81% of the institutions were public, while 33.19% were private.

UB’s coronavirus page offers complete coverage of the impacts on higher ed.