Careers

Here’s how much the average American in their 20s has in student debt

Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library.
Dominick Reuter | Getty Images
Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library.

Chances are, if you went to college in the United States, you have student loan payments to think about every month — approximately 70 percent of grads leave college with student debt.

Over 44 million Americans hold a total of $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. In fact, the amount of student debt held by Americans has increased dramatically over the past 30 years, and one generation is feeling the pressure the most — millennials.

According to the Federal Reserve, there are over 17 million student loan borrowers under the age of 30 in the U.S. These 17 million people hold a total of $376.3 billion in debt. The average monthly student loan payment for a borrower in their 20s is $351, and the median monthly payment is $203.

That means that Americans in their 20s with student loan debt each have an average balance of about $22,135.

Millennials in their 30s may have been dealt the worst hand of all. Twelve million people between the ages of 30 and 39 hold a whopping total of $408.4 billion dollars in debt. So while fewer 30-year-olds still hold debt, those who do have even more to handle.

And it may be about to become even more difficult to pay down student loans. In April, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos signaled that she is more likely to award Federal Student Aid contracts to providers with high default rates.

Additionally, President Trump's proposed budget cuts programs that subsidize loan interest, adding thousands of dollars to the cost of college that would be shouldered primarily by low-income graduates.

Some are responding to this student debt crisis by advocating for free college education programs, such as those in San Francisco and New York, and many employers are attempting to help workers by offering student loan reduction programs as a benefit to employees.

In the meantime, be sure you know how to spot a predatory student loan company and consider cost when making decisions about your education. By making sure you're up to date on student debt repayment policies and interest rates, you can make it easier to repay your loans as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

Don't miss: High schoolers can now earn a $1,000 scholarship for completing a free financial literacy course