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How Have Student Loans Increased in the Last 10 Years?

The average amount of debt students accumulate to get a degree has steadily risen. Over the past decade, the increase in college tuition has caused many families to accumulate more debt to keep up with soaring costs. Therefore, it’s no surprise that in 2019, the average total student debt among college graduates reached an all-time high at just over $30,000.

On average, college students who graduated in 2019 borrowed approximately $30,000—an increase of about $6,000 of what students in 2009 had to borrow. This 26% increase over a 10-year period reflects an overall increase in college tuition. Surprisingly, a slightly smaller percentage of students are borrowing money to pay for college today than they were 10 years ago. In 2009, approximately 68% of students took out loans to pay tuition in comparison to the 65% that borrowed in 2019.

With the significant increases in college tuition over the past 10 years, student debt has become its own nationwide epidemic. Today, there are more than 40 million Americans plagued with student loan debt. If you are in over your head with student loans, you are not alone. Consulting with a skilled student loan debt lawyer is the best way to get on top of your student loan debt and enter a repayment plan that is the best fit for your situation. Here’s a look at how the average student loan has increased in the last 10 years.

The Average Student Loan in the Last 10 Years

Over the last decade, the average loan taken out by students increased by over $1,000 between some years. In recent years, the change has been less severe, with only small increases reported, and in some years, the amount borrowed slightly declined.

In 2019, the average student loan increased by slightly less than 1% from $29,843 for the class of 2018 to $30,062 for the class of 2019. However, while this small change may seem insignificant, it is extremely telling. Since the total amount of federal loans a student can receive—in both subsidized and unsubsidized loans—is $31,000, the 2019 average shows that we are nearing the point of maximum borrowing.

How Are Student Loans Tied to College Tuition?

It’s no surprise that the average student loan is usually tied to the cost of tuition. In the past 20 years, the cost of college has more than doubled across most private and public colleges and universities, offering context for the dramatic rise in student loan debt. However, in the 2020–2021 school year, tuition and fees saw a decline from the 2019–2020 academic year.

Academic experts highlight that the decline in tuition and fees in the 2020–2021 year reflects the decline in student enrollment that many colleges have experienced. Not only is COVID-19 likely to influence the amount of money students borrow, but also the cost of tuition itself.  Specifically, private schools are likely lowering their tuition to remain competitive.

How Student Loans Are Affecting Americans

Student loan debt is a nationwide problem and a significant burden for many Americans. In 2019, the national student loan debt reached $1.6 trillion, and the Federal Reserve reported that many individuals with student loans were behind on their payments.

Additionally, federal studies highlight that minority groups default on their loans at higher rates and are more likely to experience financial hardship from student loans. In a recent federal study, researchers followed a group of students enrolled in the 2011–2012 academic year in the six years following graduation. They found that 13% of white students were in default in comparison to 20% of Hispanic students and 32% of Black students. The findings highlight clear racial disparities in the ways student loans affect Americans.

Work with a Skilled Arizona Student Loan Lawyer to Get on Top of Your Student Loans

Student loans are complicated, and it can be challenging to educate yourself on all the variables and factors that compose your loan agreement and terms. If you are struggling to make your monthly payments or are in over your head with student loan debt, you should seek professional guidance from a student loan attorney. A student loan lawyer can explain all the factors of your loan, examine the specifics of your situation, and provide essential guidance on the best strategies for loan repayment.

At McCarthy Law, our attorneys are dedicated to helping students navigate the complexities of the student loan system. Under our student loan debt settlement program, our licensed attorneys negotiate with lenders to ensure our clients pay only a fraction of their original loan balance. To schedule a consultation with one of our skilled student loan settlement attorneys, call (855) 976-5777 or fill out our online contact form.

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Kevin Fallon McCarthy

Kevin Fallon McCarthy is the McCarthy Law PLC’s managing attorney and an experienced Phoenix debt attorney. Mr. McCarthy has also worked as general counsel for a large corporation. He has corporate counsel experience in human resource matters, general corporate governance, and union class action litigation.