The average student loan debt continues to climb

As 2014 begins, the most recent studies available show that the average student loan debt is $35,200. That’s for the class of 2013. These statistics are courtesy of a survey from Fidelity Investments.

As you can see on our student loan counseling page, 2/3 of students borrow money for college, and college costs are up 42% in the last 10 years. They’re not stopping, either. College costs continue to rise by 6% per year, even while average family incomes are stagnant or declining.

Adding to the average student loan debt for typical graduates is non-traditional student loan debt. Of the $35,200 average, almost $30,000 is in the form of guaranteed student loans. But college students also have private student loans, state loans, family loans, and other kinds of debt like credit cards.

There is some good news mixed in with the shocking statistics about rising college debt; 85% of students reported that they contributed their own personal savings toward college expenses and tuition. If this trend holds, then students should will be more likely to borrow carefully and choose affordable options when choosing a college and major.

However, only 54% reported that they had a financial plan in place to meet their financial goals; for the rest, student loan counseling might help them come up with a strategy to repay their student loan debts.

The vast majority of graduates (92%) say they plan to repay their debts through income from their primary jobs.  Unfortunately, the job market has been sluggish, with fewer jobs and lower pay than college grads expect. Only 13% of grads from the class of 2013 reported that they had found a full-time job in the field of their choice.

Check out all the numbers in Fidelity Investments’ “Cost-Conscious College Graduates: A Study of Recent College Graduates” at this .pdf link.

If you are concerned about being able to repay student loans, or you’re trying to come up with a plan to make your loan payments going forward, call us today for student loan counseling from a certified nonprofit counselor.