The Ugly Truth About Student Loans

By Arkansas Next staff on Friday, September 25, 2020

Across the country, millions of current and former students are in financial crisis.

For many, student loan debt is lingering long into their professional lives, limiting their livelihoods and spending power. Students looking ahead to freshman year, and even those in their final semesters of college, are considering whether their degree will be worth the cost for years to come. The numbers aren’t pretty. Here’s a look at Arkansas and U.S. student loan debt —stats to help you make an informed decision on how to pay for your higher ed.


The average student loan debt in Arkansas (Business Insider)

of Arkansans who graduated in 2018 have student loan debt (TICAS)

$11.5 billion
amount that Arkansas residents owe in student loan debt (Business Insider)

$639 million
amount of federal student loans that originated in Arkansas in 2018-19. (Talk Business)


$1.64 trillion
Total student loan debt in the U.S. (Student Loan Hero)

of Americans have student loan debt

45 million
Americans borrowed for student loan debt

of adults go 90 days past due with their student loan debt (Investopedia)

10.8 million
As of 2019, there were 10.8 million borrowers with 200.7 billion dollars of student loan debt in the U.S. (Forbes)

Student loan debt has doubled in the last 10 years

is the average student loan debt in the U.S. (Student Loan Hero)

$587 billion
more than the total U.S. credit card debt (Student Loan Hero)

+ 1 million
student loan borrowers go into default each year. (CNBC Personal Finance)

of adults who graduated in 2018 had student loan debt (Forbes)

the amount of borrowers expected to default by 2023 (CNBC Personal Finance)

20 million Americans make an average monthly payment of $276 toward their federal student loan payments (Lending Tree)

Borrowers accumulate $157 in interest every month — altogether accumulating about $5.3 billion in student loan interest in the U.S.

Research from Citizens Financial Group says that 60% of student debt borrowers expect to pay off their debt in their 40s. (CNBC Make It)