October 7, 2014

The Changing Profile of Student Borrowers

Trends in Amounts Borrowed

Among graduates of the class of 2011-12, the typical student borrower owed about $26,900 in student debt. This is roughly double the amount owed by the typical borrower from the class of 1992-93 ($12,400).

Unlike the clear patterns for borrowing rates, the increase in the median amounts borrowed by graduates has been fairly uniform across subgroups of graduates.

Median Cumulative Debt by Borrowers Has Increased Regardless of Parental Income Increase in Total Indebtedness Has Grown Across the Board

In the class of 2011-12 borrowers from the lowest income quartile typically owed $23,081, a 65% increase over the $13,989 owed by the median borrower from the lowest income quartile in the class of 1992-93. The median amount borrowed by graduates from the lower-middle income quartile increased slightly more: 133% between 1992-93 ($10,880) and 2011-12 ($25,363).The percentage increase in the amounts borrowed for graduates from higher income backgrounds was somewhat less than 133%.

The median amounts borrowed roughly doubled regardless of parental education or gender (see additional figures in Appendix A).