Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

The Burdens of Student Debt

As the cost of higher education has increased, a growing share of undergraduates are taking out loans and a rising share of families are attempting to pay them back.

About half (48%) of students who took out college loans say that paying them back has made it harder to make ends meet after they left school. A quarter say that making loan payments has made it harder to buy a home; 24% say it has had an impact on the kind of career they are pursuing; and 7% say they have delayed getting married or starting a family because of it.

Across the country, averagetuition and fees have roughly tripled since 1980-81, even after accounting for inflation. For the 2010-11 school year, the average in-state, full-time undergraduate student paid $7,605 in tuition and fees (before grant aid), up from $2,119 in 1980-81. The increase in tuition and fees has been even more severe at private colleges and universities, jumping up from$9,535 in 1980-81 to $27,293 in 2010-11. Read More