There are two types of loans student borrow in the US: Federal loans or Private loans. Federal loans have a fixed interest rate, usually lower than private loans’ interest, set annually by the congress. The direct subsidized loan with the maximum amount of $5,500 has an interest rate of 4.45%, while the direct plus loan with the maximum amount of $20,500 has an interest rate of 7% As for private loans, there are more options like fixed interest rate, variable interest rate, and income based monthly plans whose interest rates vary depending on the lender, credit history and cosigners. The average interest rate for a private loan in 2017 was 9.66%. The Economist reported in June 2014 that U.S. student loan debt exceeded $1.2 trillion with over 7 million debtors in default. In 2014, there was approximately $1.3 trillion of outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. that affected 44 million borrowers who had an average outstanding loan balance of $37,172.
The interest rates are a major factor in the alarming debt numbers, however, the booming of prices of college is another major factor for US tremendous student debt. The Public universities increased their fees by a total of 27% over the five years ending in 2012, or 20% adjusted for inflation. Public university students paid an average of almost $8,400 annually for in-state tuition, with out-of-state students paying more than $19,000. For two decades ending in 2012, college costs rose 1.6% more than inflation each year. Government funding per student fell 27% between 2007 and 2012. Student enrollments rose from 15.2 million in 1999 to 20.4 million in 2011, but fell 2% in 2012. Bloomberg reported in July 2014 that: “The biggest growth in the program came in the past decade, as student debt rose an average of 14 percent a year, to $966 billion in 2012 from $364 billion in 2004, according to New York Fed data.”
There were around 37 million student loan borrowers with outstanding student loans in 2013. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, outstanding student loan debt in the United States lies between $902 Billion and $1 Trillion with around $864 Billion in Federal student loan debt. As of Quarter 1 in 2012, the average student loan balance for all age groups is $24,301. About one-quarter of borrowers owe more than $28,000; 10% of borrowers owe more than $54,000; 3% owe more than $100,000; and less than 1%, or 167,000 people, owe more than $200,000. Of the 37 million borrowers who have outstanding student loan balances, 14%, or about 5.4 million borrowers, have at least one past due student loan account. For every student loan borrower who defaults, at least two more borrowers become delinquent without default. In 2010 for the first time ever, student loan debt exceeded credit card debt and in 2011 student debt surpassed auto loans (both of which were decreasing). According to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org, student loan debt is growing by $3,000 per second. According to a report by The Institute for College Access and Success the average debt from those who graduated in 2013 topped $30,000 in six states and was only below $20,000 in one state. Data released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed that in the fourth quarter of 2014 delinquency rates for students dipped to the point where approximately one in nine student loans is past due. As of 2015 over half of outstanding student loans are in deferral, delinquency or default. Rising student loan debt is exacerbating wealth inequality
Student loan borrowers that attended a for profit, and two year community colleges, in comparison, earn low annual salaries; an average of $22,000 for people withdrawing from schools as of 2010. This means that these people have troubles paying back their loans. The new evidence is reliable with the previous data. For example, the statistics presenting that default rates are essentially lower within the demographic of borrowers with large loans than within borrowers with small loans. However, the new evidence which goes back twenty years, shows how much the scenery of borrowing has changed. Currently, most borrowers are older and attended a for profit or two year community college. About ten years ago, the standard borrower was an established student at a four-year university.
In recent years, tuition has been rising due to the cuts of government funding in education. As an example, more specifically, the University of Pittsburgh has had an increase in tuition of 3.9 percent for the academic school year of 2014-15. In recent weeks, the U.S. Department of Education ranked Pitt as the most expensive public university for tuition and fees, just ahead of Penn State University, which this past year totaled $16,240 in the arts and science school.
In 2005, the difference in median annual income between those with a bachelor’s degree vs. those with a high school diploma was $16,638, though this varies considerably by field of study.