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About Student Loans | The Facts

National Statistics

  • 71% of college seniors in 2012 graduated with student loan debt.
  • The average debt of 2012 graduates was $29,400.
  • The current total of outstanding student debt exceeds $1 trillion.
  • Students with a bachelor’s degree pay an average of $350 per month, and it takes an average of 18 years to pay off the debt.
  • Students with a graduate degree pay an average of $448 per month, and it takes an average of 22 years to pay off the debt.


  • Unemployment rate for young college graduates in 2011 was 8.8% (slight decrease from 9.1% in 2010).
  • Of those who wanted to be working full time, 19.1% were working part time or had given up looking for work.
  • 37.8% of young graduates had jobs that did not require a college degree (as opposed to 31% in 2007).
  • Unemployment rates for high school graduates in 2011 was 19.1%.

Financial Aid Grants and Loans

  • In 2012-13, full-time undergraduates at public, 4-year institutions received an average of $5,750 in grant aid.
  • Full-time students at public two-year colleges received an average of $4,350 in grant aid.
  • Full time undergraduates at private nonprofit four-year institutions receive an average of $15,680 in grant aid from all sources and federal tax benefits.
  • The average, fulltime undergraduate student receives enough aid to cover tuition and fees, but not enough to cover other expenses.
  • Pell Grants have been increased by over $900.

Private Vs. Public Loans

  • 1/5 of graduate debt is comprised of private loans.
  • 33% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduated owing an average $12,550 in private loans.
  • 64% of graduating students at for-profit colleges have private loan debt. 

Credit Cards

  • 84% of undergraduates have at least one credit card.
  • The average number of cards held by a college student is 4.6.
  • 50% of students have 4 or more.
  • 90% of these students pay for direct education expenses with credit cards.
  • 30% of students with credit cards put tuition charges on card.
  • 40% of students with a credit card say they charged items knowing they didn’t have the money.
  • 82% of students with a credit card carry balances and incur finance charges each month.
  • 84% of students say then need more education on financial management.
  • 68% of students under 21 reported receiving credit card offers in the mail.
  • 40% of students reported seeing credit card companies giving gifts to students.


For individuals and families trying to figure out how to pay off debts, American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) provides nonprofit credit counseling, credit card reduction and consumer debt management services for consumers nationwide. Our certified credit counselors provide financial education for anyone wanting to learn how to get out of debt and how to eliminate credit card debt. As alternative to expensive debt restructuring services and credit card debt consolidation loans, our debt management plans are a kind of credit card relief program that have helped thousands of people pay down credit card debt by consolidating payments and reducing interest rates and finances charges. We also offer bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling and other financial education services for help getting out of debt.

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