Getting rid of college debt has been a goal of many Americans for a while now.
As of the first quarter of 2019, more than a quarter million Americans had graduated from college, according to the Census Bureau.
The percentage of Americans who had paid off their student loans has increased from 18% in 2009 to 21% in 2019, according the Pew Research Center.
But even though the number of students who have paid off college loans has skyrocketed, a lot of people still have a lot to pay off.
And according to a new report, there are several steps that you can take to cut down on your student loan debt and avoid paying it down completely.
We’ve all heard about the “haves” and the “have nots.”
In fact, the vast majority of Americans have not paid off a single dollar of student debt.
But it turns out that it’s not just about not paying back your debt.
The new study from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) finds that a lot more people have to pay back their debt than people think.
“Most borrowers don’t realize that they owe more than they have in total,” the report states.
“The average amount owed for a 10-year repayment program has grown from $26,800 to $38,400.”
The report found that students who were in college in 2014 had the highest median debt load at $24,400, and the highest debt for a non-degree program at $23,300.
Students in the 20-24 year-old age bracket have the highest average debt at $29,400.
And even though graduates of high schools in 2016 had the lowest average debt load, their debt load was still higher than graduates of lower-tier schools.
According to the report, students in high school and college were the only two categories in which graduates had the most debt.
Students who went to college in the late ’80s had the least debt at just $14,300 compared to $22,300 for graduates in the early ’90s.
But it’s a bit different when it comes to college students who graduated from high school in the ’70s and ’80’s.
The average debt for graduates of that generation is nearly twice as high at $28,700, compared to just $16,400 for students in the first wave of graduates in 1999.
Even if you graduated from a college with the highest graduation rate, you still owe a lot on your debt if you are not paying it off now.
The National Consumer League reports that nearly a quarter of all students have more than $10,000 in student loans.
That number rose to 23% for graduates who graduated in the 1990s, but then dipped to 21.9% for those graduates in 2019.
The report found graduates in every age bracket, including those who graduated between 1990 and 2020, had higher loan balances than their peers from lower income families.
“It is important to note that these data are based on student loan repayment data collected in 2016, when the debt burden for graduates was considerably higher than the debt load of the general population,” the NCLC report states, noting that it is important for people to remember that they are responsible for the debt they incur and pay it off in full.
For those who don’t have a college degree, these numbers can be helpful in helping you find ways to cut your debt, and if you want to make sure you don’t hit the debt ceiling as the debt collection deadline approaches, these guidelines can help.
You can also check out our guide to how to get rid of student loan debts for free, which includes some free tools to help you with your debt consolidation and debt forgiveness.
What are your debt options right now?
Share your stories with us in the comments below.