Financial News

The Mid 30s Consumers Have the Highest Average Student Loan Debt

EPF Last Update: May 30, 2020

Every year, thousands of college students graduate across the United States. They leave school hoping to use their degrees to advance their careers and better their lives. One thing stands in their way, though – student loans. Many American youths entering the workplace end up using their first salaries to kick off the payment of the numerous student loans acquired in the course of their tuition. A debt that can take decades to pay off.

The Student Loan Debacle

Student loans are the second-largest consumer credit debt for Americans after mortgages. The American population carries an average of $35,205 in outstanding student loan debt per individual. That is an increase of 26% in just five years and a 2% increase when compared to the data from the first quarter of 2018. According to the Experian data, the student loan debt in the U.S was at a high of 1.4 trillion dollars by the end of the first quarter of 2019. That is a record increase of at least 116% in just ten years! This number keeps going up, and so does the amount of student loan debt of all age groups making it the most significant financial burden in the country.

Today, there are at least 148 million student loan accounts with outstanding debt. A fact that has made it the most significant consumer debt category in the U.S.

The Older Generation Student Debt Loan Increase

Paying for college tuition is getting more expensive year after year. The most astonishing thing, however, is the debt growth among older individuals. According to the data from the U.S. Department of Education, student loan debtors aged 60 and older have increased by 17% between 2018 and 2019. This is the most massive increase in borrowers among all the age groups. In the same period, the number of borrowers between 50 and 59 years has increased by 10%. This is the second-highest debtor increase, followed closely by consumers who are between 35 and 49 years of age, with an up of about 7%.

Looking further into the federal student loan data, parent PLUS loans (loans applied by parents with their children as recipients) have increased by at least 13% since the start of 2015. The amount disbursed to cater for this type of student loan has also grown by 38% in the same period. From 2018 to 2019, the number of parent PLUS debtors has increased by 3%, and the amount borrowed increased by 7% in the same time frame. Below is a breakdown of the average student loan debt owed by consumers of all age groups across the country.

Consumer Loan Debt by Age Groups

  • The early 20s – lowest outstanding student loan debt

Consumers in their early 20s have the lowest outstanding student loan balances. In the second quarter of 2019, they owed an average of 11, 576 dollars (Experian Data numbers). Their age and the year that they are currently in at school justify the low debt levels among these young consumers. Most of them start college immediately after high school, so by the time they hit the 20-year-old mark; they are just halfway through their study years. This also means that they are yet to start their advanced degrees. A factor that brings about additional costs that are almost always settled using student loans.

  • The mid 30s – highest outstanding student loan debt

35-year-old individuals in the united states have the highest outstanding student loan debts. Borrowers between 30 and 39 years have the most unpaid balances in student loans with the amount reaching its peak with the mid 30s consumers. This is in spite of a large number of student loan debtors under 30 years of age.

According to the Experian data from the second quarter of 2019, the 35-year-old consumers had an average of 42,564 dollars in outstanding student loan debts.

  • Above 40 – above average outstanding student loan debt

American consumers above 40 years old have above average outstanding amounts of student loan debts. According to the Experian data from the second quarter of 2019, their figures have consistently been above the national average – 35, 620 dollars.

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