What is the average amount of a student loan?

The average federal loan debt outstanding is $28,973 per borrower, as of June 30, 2015.

In 2015,the average total student loan debt at graduation, including both federal and private student loan debt, is about $35,000 for Bachelor’s degree recipients, $51,000 for Master’s degree recipients, $71,000 for Ph.D. recipients, $167,000 for law school graduates (L.L.B. or J.D.) and $207,000 for medical school graduates (M.D.).

This table shows the average federal education loan amount in 2014-2015, based on data from the Federal Student Aid Data Center.

Loan Program Degree Level Average Loan Amount
Direct Subsidized Loan Undergraduate $3,565
Direct Unsubsidized Loan Undergraduate $3,944
Parent PLUS Loan Undergraduate $14,658
Direct Unsubsidized Loan
Graduate $16,840
Grad PLUS Loan Graduate $21,381

Based on data from the 2011-2012 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), slightly less than half (48.3%) of dependent undergraduate students who borrow are borrowing to the limit (45.1% of students in Bachelor’s degree programs, 21.1% of students in Associate’s degree programs and 31.1% of students in Certificate programs).

More than one-third (38.5%) of dependent Direct Loan borrowers reach the usual maximum total. An additional 9.8% reach the exceptional maximum, where a dependent student borrower qualifies for the higher loan limits available to independent students due to a parent being denied the Parent PLUS Loan. Only about a quarter (26.2%) of independent undergraduate students are borrowing to the limit.

Among graduate students, 33.5% of students in Master’s degree programs are borrowing to the limit, 30.6% of students in Ph.D. programs are borrowing to the limit, 78.8% of students in law (L.L.B. or J.D.) programs, 83.7% of students in medical school (M.D.) programs, 83.6% of students in pharmacy programs (PharmD) and 80.7% of students in veterinary (DVM) programs are borrowing to the limit from the Direct Unsubsidized Loans program.