By the Numbers: The Student Loan Crisis

Alden Wicker

Chances are, you know someone (or you are that someone) burdened with student loan debt. And you’re not alone.

Student loans, especially higher-cost private loans, have expanded as tuition rises. Meanwhile graduates aren’t making what they expected to once they get out of college, saddling them with debt that they can’t pay.

We broke down in this infographic the numbers of what is quickly becoming an economic crisis for young people in the U.S.

Plus: We have a special giveaway if you need help paying off your own student loans. Check it out here!

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  • Stephanie

    Thanks for the visual breakdown!  I’m curious about how one of the stats was calculated that said, “…college graduate won’t earn enough until age 33…”  Thank you!

  • Shannon1182

    Thank you for putting this information out there for people to visually see.  I personally have over $200,000 in student loan debt, most of which is from private loans.  I accrue $36/day in interest, so you can imagine how difficult it will be for me to ever get these paid off.  The government really needs to step in and put a stop to the way private loans are dealt with.

  • jennifer

    So depressing. I have more than $140k in student loans and it has significantly impacted nearly every aspect of my life. It’s like I already have a mortgage, except without the tax benefits. The tax deduction for loan interest is capped at $2500 and is reduced depending on income, so it ends up being very little. My husband and I can’t afford to buy a house or have a baby because of this crippling debt. My loan payments are more than $1200 each month and that’s only because interest rates are low now. The were more than $1400 in 2008 before the economy collapsed and interest rates dropped. What really kills me is that to get a mortgage for $140k, I would have to fill out reams of paperwork and go through a lengthly approval process that throughly assessed my finances. But at AGE 17 when I didn’t have a savings account, couldn’t vote and barely had a driver’s license, I was able to basically sign my life away—no questions asked and no information provided about what is a private loan vs. a federal loan, what is a variable interest rate, what will my payments be and how does that compare to the projected salary in the field I was going to study. It’s a huge problem that KIDS can these giant loans without having any idea what they are getting into. I would be so incredibly grateful to only have the average of $25k in loan debt. 

  • TuSA23

    Ugh I have about $100,000 worth of student loans. I get so aggravated when people say things like “well what do you expect? You went to college and now you have to deal with the consequences”. Im fully aware that it is “my fault” that I decided to go to college (and a good college at that!). 

    I’m not asking for someone ELSE to pay my debts. I would just appreciate it if the people at Sallie Mae would even entertain the idea of allowing students to make a repayment schedule that works for them too! Sure they have the “interest only plans” but that ends up almost DOUBLING what I owe. It’s such a scam. 

    • Exum

      Yes, I too used Sallie Mae while I had the option to use Federal loans. Being the first in lineage to attend college, I had no idea private versus federal. I had available funds to borrow but chose Sallie Mae as I overheard a pharmacist say they used Sallie Mae and sang praises of them. My Sallie Mae loan has doubled in interest. Additionally I have federal loans. It’s a good thing I believe in prayer, otherwise, I wouldn’t have anyone to tell my troubles too, that would care anyway.

  • Guest

    Thank you for this breakdown! I preparing to go to medical school, and the debt prospect is simply terrifying. My parents aren’t able to help me with tuition, and if I can’t get into the state medical school I’m probably going to have to go out of the country to get a more affordable, top-tier education. Meanwhile, my best friend is an EU citizen and her master’s degree – including room and board – are fully funded by her government; while the U.S. is burying students in loans, EU countries is encouraging higher education to support their long-term economy. Unbelievable.