EPI's weekly illustration of education data trends — February 8, 2017

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Percent of Undergraduate Students

Who Receive Federal Student Loans


In 2011-12, 52 percent of all undergraduate students received federal student loans from the US Department of Education. This includes students at both two-year and four-year institutions. This amount is 6 percent higher than 4 years earlier, 13 percent higher than in 1999-2000, and 25 percent higher than in 1989-90.

Of the students that borrowed, the average borroed in 2011-12 was $14,300, compared to $11,1000 in 2007-08 and $7,700 in 1989-90 (adjusted for inflation on 2012 dollars)


SOURCE: Woo, Jennie, and Horn, Laura (2016). "Reaching the Limit: Undergraduates Who Borrow the Maximum Amount in Federal Direct Loans: 2011-12." Stats in Brief. Washington, DC: US Department of Education. https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2016/2016408.pdf.

This analysis utilized data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Studies (NPSAS), years 1989–90, 1992–93, 1995–96, 1999–2000, 2003–04, 2007–08, and 2011–12.

NOTE: Estimates include all undergraduates who enrolled in one Title IV eligible postsecondary institution in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, but not Puerto Rico, during the academic year specified. Students who enrolled in multiple institutions were excluded. Stafford Loan borrowing is limited to students who are enrolled at least half time and are not international students. All dollar estimates prior to 2011–12 have been adjusted to 2012 dollars using an academic year Consumer Price Index.