The State of Student Loan Debt

Date: September 27, 2017

For those who just graduated college, the end of the summer after graduation often marks a time to really buckle down and find a job. And that first job out of school is important, now more than ever, given the tremendous increase in the amount of student loan debt in this country. Experian conducted a cross-generational and regional study on student loans and found that, overall, outstanding loan balances have increased over 149 percent (in total balances) since 2007. Some of the other highlights from the study are below.

Key findings:

  • The average total student loan balance is $34,144.
  • The average VantageScore credit score for consumers with one or more student loans is 650, or 25 points lower than the national average of 675.
  • Students are taking out multiple student loans to fund their education, with the average number of student loans now at 3.7 per person (up from 2.4 in 2007).

Generational findings:

  • Generation X (ages 35-49) has the largest average outstanding loan balance — $39,802.
  • Generation Y (ages 21-34) has the largest number of loans — 4.4 per person.
  • Generation Z (ages 18-20) has the highest percentage of loans currently in deferment — 77 percent.

Regional Findings:

The study found that consumers on the East Coast tend to have higher student loan balances. See the chart below for a more detailed breakdown:

Average student loan balances by metropolitan statistical area (MSA)


Metropolitan Statistical Area
(in thousands)

Gainsville, FL
Washington, DC
Charlottesville, VA
Atlanta, GA
San Francisco, CA

Metropolitan Statistical Area
(in thousands)

Sioux, IA
Laredo, TX
North Platte, NE
Harlington, TX
Glendive, MT

As a participant in the consumer credit scoring industry, it is, however, promising to hear that the percentage of late payments has dropped 10.1 percent from 9.9 percent in 2009. For parents who would like to share some words of wisdom to their graduates on how to improve their credit score, please visit:

An interesting infographic on the Experian study can be found here:

More Insights & Resources

See all the performance data and insights on VantageScore’s advantage in the credit card industry.

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