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Forty Million Consumers Now Have at Least One Student Loan; Arkansas and Oklahoma among States with Highest Amount of Late Payments
Friday, September 12, 2014 6:40 AM

As college students across the country move into their dorm rooms, firm up their class schedules and embark on a new chapter in their lives, many will do so with the help of a student loan. Experian® analyzed student loan trends spanning from 2008 through 2014 in the United States. Findings from the study show that consumer debt is decreasing in every major consumer lending category, with the exception of student loans. Student loans increased by 84 percent since the recession (from 2008 to 2014) and surpassed home equity loans/lines of credit, credit card and automotive debt.

As student loans are increasing, what does this landscape look like? Some of the key findings from a national perspective include:

  • 40 million consumers have a least one open student loan
  • There are 3.7 open student loans per consumer
  • The average balance of these loans per consumer is $29,000
  • The average balance per loan is $9,000

The study took a closer look at the younger generation and found that there are 13 million consumers ages 18–34 that have at least one open student loan. The average VantageScore® credit score of those consumers is 640, which is 20 points higher than the average for that age group. This indicates that student loans can help build and establish credit history for young adults and doing so responsibly potentially will increase their scores and the ability to get credit in the future. Other key findings in this age group include:

  • Overall, the total amount of student-loan debt has reached an all-time high of $1.2 trillion.
  • Currently, of all of the open student-loan accounts, 39 percent ($417 billion) are in deferment and 61 percent ($727 billion) are in repayment.
  • Of the consumers who are currently in the repayment stage, their average payment is $279 per consumer.

Further findings in the study compared 90+ day delinquencies of student loan payments from a regional perspective and found that Oklahoma has the second highest amount of late payments (13.2 percent) and Arkansas has the fifth highest amount of late payments (12.5 percent).