Student Loan Debt Management and Statistics

Let's clearly understand Debt Management plan, how it's used for getting a better interest rate and a lower repayment on loans. You'll come to learn how to get out of debts too

Updated by Gowtham Ramesh on 12th June 2019

Repayment of the student loan debt is a long and complicated process and it puts a lot of pressure on the borrower's finances. The student loan has an impact on your finances and this can put your credit score at risk.

An estimated forty-four million borrowers owe a sum of $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S alone.

We shall be considering all the possible ways of student loan management.

Most people find themselves unemployed after completing college. Although they may be temporarily unemployed, the unemployment rate for college degree holders was estimated to be at about 2.1% in August 2018.

Even though scholarships and grants are offered to students, this can’t keep up with the rise in the cost of higher education. Hence, this makes it difficult to repay the student loan, forcing individuals into debt traps.

To solve this problem, it's quite important to make a debt management plan in order to escape falling into the vicious cycle of debt.

Table of Contents

What is a debt management plan?

Debt Management Plans are services that are provided by companies to those people who need help in settling their debts in a fast and easy manner.

A typical debt management plan provides the services (from a creditor) to bring down the monthly payments and the interest rate on the loans with no penalties on the borrower.

The three parties involved in a debt management plan are:

  • The borrower

  • The creditor of the loan

  • Debt Management Company

The debt management company will support you to pay off your debt through affordable lower monthly installments for a period of 3 to 5 years.

Debt Consolidation

Debt Management Plans are broken into an extended category of debt consolidation out of which a set of tools and services are designed to help with the unsecured debts.

Types of debt management plan

debt management plan (DMP) is also called as Credit Counseling Programs which is a great way to pay the debts on time.

Standard Debt Management

Standard Debt Management provides a free consultation with a credit counseling agency to evaluate the total debt situation.

In this type of plan, the company helps to negotiate the loans with your creditor in order to lower the interest rate and monthly payments. The average debt management plan is usually around 3 to 5 years.

Debt Management by creditors

Individual creditors sometimes offer debt management suggestions and plan to their borrowers to aid them in their debt elimination. Although this plan is quite different from that offered by credit counseling agencies.


When filing for personal bankruptcy, you need to enroll in a debt management plan or Credit Counseling Program. Under this plan, the debts will be restructured and prioritized by a court.

The usual tenure for this repayment ranges from 3 to 5 years, after which the remaining debts might be discharged.

Working of the debt management plan

What is a DMP?

A Dept management plan is an agreement between the borrower and his creditor which aids the borrower with his debt repayment. This plan is usually managed by a third entity or provider. Several companies provide Debt Management Plans.

Before setting the plan, the DMP provider usually puts together a budget for the borrower which shows the amount that the borrower is able to pay after all other daily expense. The credit is then paid to the DMP provider which is then passed on to the creditor.

How the DMP works

1) DMP is provided by credit counseling agencies. Look for non-profit companies that are accredited by NFCC. A financial credit counselor will go through all financial histories in order to suggest the borrower's plans accordingly

2) The counselor contacts the creditor notifying them that they'll be making the payments

3) The counselor seeks concessions from the creditor, like lower interest rates, low monthly payments or late fees.

4) The payments are automated and are electronically transferred to the DMP managing company, which is then paid to the creditors.

5) The company gives a progress report every month

6) The borrower has to pay an origination fee and monthly fee for every plan made

7) The fee varies and could be bargained but most companies usually charge from $20 to $30 on an average.

8) Make on-time payments

9)The creditors can withdraw the plan if the borrower does not meet the terms of the plan

Enrolling in a debt management plan

Before getting into any debt management plan or debt consolidation plan, understand the terms carefully. It will help you know what sort of agreement you are getting as this could prevent problems that may arise in the future.

When should you enroll?

The debt management plan is not for all because not everyone is in a situation that requires debt management. These plans mostly work for the unsecured debts which exclude debts which are from collateral, automobile loans, and mortgage. If this is your case, then the debt management might not help you.

If the aim of your debt management is for a credit card debt, student loans, or medical bills which are unsecured debts, debt consolidation and management is a great option to be considered.

The primary aim of the debt management plan is to serve and help those people who are deeply tied up with debt. If you're dealing with the lower average amount of debts, try to consider other solutions because the debt management plan is not worth the choice for your credit.

In cases where you find yourself in lesser debts, try to build a plan yourself which should be based on your payments. You can schedule and further communicate with your creditor regarding any opportunities that may be available for lowering your monthly payments, interest, and fees.

Debt management plans work well for -

  • Multiple credit card holders with balances

  • Those who are unable to make the monthly payment dues in cases such as medical and student loan bills

  • Those buried deep in debt with no foreseeable resolutions

Debt Management plans are bad for -

  • People struggling to pay back the automobile loan or mortgage payments

  • People with a lower rate in debts.


1 - Avoiding Bankruptcy

The debt management plan can help you avoid serious consequences of debt without the need of filing for bankruptcy.

2 - Monthly payments

If you are trying to pay the debt on your own, this plan helps you in the consolidation of all your multiple payments into a single one, which will make it easy to pay it off every month without trouble.

3 - Reducing the stress

Debt management can help reduce your stress level. Stress is reduced when all calls from collection agencies are stopped. This may give you the confidence of knowing when the debt will be paid off completely.

4 - Lower Rate of Interest, Payments and Total debts

A debt management company can help you in saving a lot of money by means of a reduced interest rate, fees, and monthly payments. The provider might even negotiate with the loan provider to cut down the amount in return for faster repayment.


1 - The closing of credit cards

Before getting into a debt management plan, you are most likely to ask for your existing credit account to be closed. If you are dependent on that credit card, this can be very difficult to process.

2 - Utilization ratio

By closing those accounts, your credit utilization is most likely affected.

3 - Not fulfilling

The debt management service can negotiate for a lower monthly payment with creditors. It can also make provisions for settlements far lesser than the full debt owed. However, this will lower the debt which will, in turn, reflect on your credit score as debt which cannot be repaid.


Tips for college students

Collect all the information

Borrowers often think there is only one kind of student loan. Further studies and information gathering will make you discover that there are different types of loans that can be borrowed. College students usually go for Federal or Private student loans but under the federal, there are loans like the Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans, the Direct PLUS loans and the Parent Plus loans. Asking about what loan to choose? It can be asked at your college financial aid department.

Dodge Credit card

It's always great to apply for a credit card for college expenses. Credit card companies support these actions as they know students have a great future ahead of them.

Repay interest quickly

Student loans are a good way to complete your degree. However, the interest that comes with it can make it difficult to pay off. Student loans from the federal government technically have a better interest rate as you can defer it on the taxes.

Loans that are not on need basis should be paid first as their interest rates start to accumulate as soon as you finish schooling.

Combining your debts

Consolidating is a very common tool for credit card and loans. It can even work well with schools and college loan debts. The main advantage of debt consolidation for a student loan is that it can reduce the monthly payments.

Before consolidating, be sure to go through the interest rates and terms in the new contract. Sometimes the new interest rate may be higher.

Go for alternatives

There are always alternative repayment options to choose from.

Alternative debt management may help reduce your monthly payments but it can also increase your repayment plan or raise your interest rate. A loan which was for 10 years can go for an additional 5+ years based on the options which you have chosen.

Well Known debt management companies

There are many Debt Management Companies which outshines because of the facilities they provide. Let's know more about which are the best Debt Management Companies. The companies are listed below:

Cambridge credit counseling

Cambridge Credit Counseling is well known for its extreme clarity which is something rare in financial institutions.

The company has clearcut fees which are $40 for setup and $25 monthly, it does not exceed $75 and $50. The average interest-rate and payment discounts are mentioned on the website. The company provides transparency reports for a better understanding.

GreenPath debt solutions

GreenPath became a financial education loan provider in 1961.

It is quite popular for its customer-friendly features and has a well-designed website with features which includes online chat, tips on budgeting, counseling hours for credits, etc. Individuals can also enroll for personal counseling.

InCharge debt solutions

InCharge Debt Solutions has one of the most well-maintained websites. The company provides clarity about fees. For setup, it charges $50 and for monthly it charges $49. It also gives a clear idea about the interest rate on the debt management plan.

It was accredited by the BBB with an A+ rating and other including the NFCC and COA.

It also provides credit counselors who specialize in discussing debt management.

Money management international (MMI)

MMI was formed in the year 1997. This company is well known for the debt management plan. It is user-friendly and provides a speedy solution to the users facing problems. Having an experience of 23 years in counseling and giving out financial advice, their main motive is to help with compassion and kindness.


Student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category, falling slightly behind mortgage debt but higher than the credits on card and auto loans

There are over 44 million borrowers who owe $1.5 Trillion in student loan debts in the U.S alone. The average student of class 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt.

Student Loan borrowers should look at Student loan debt statistics as it could help in making better decisions related to debt elimination, decisions like Student Loan Refinancing, Student Loan Consolidation, Student Loan Repayment options, and Student Loan Forgiveness.

Statistics overview

Total Student Loan Debt - $1.52 Trillion

Total U.S. Borrowers with Student Loan Debt - $44.2 Million

Student Loan Delinquency or Default Rate - 10.7% (90+ days Delinquent)

Total Increase in the Student Loan Debt in Most Recent Quarter - $29 Billion.

New Delinquent Balances(30+ Days) - $32.6 Billions

New Delinquent Balance - Seriously Delinquent (90+ days) - $32 Billion.

(Source: As of 1Q 2018, Federal Reserve & New York Federal Reserve)

States with most student loan debt

The states with the higher population have the larger aggregate student loan debt. California, Florida, Texas and New York are the states having the highest student loan debt.

These 4 states represent nearly 20% of all the student loan borrowers.

Rank State Balance ($ in Billions) Borrowers (Millions)
California $120.0 3.7
Texas $92.5 3.1
Florida $78.9 2.3
New York $78.9 2.3
Georgia $54.0 1.5
Pennsylvania $53.7 1.7
Ohio $53.5 1.7
Illinois $52.4 1.6
Michigan $44.1 1.4
North Carolina $38.2 1.1

Source - Enterprise Data Warehouse

States with high student debt

In the 50 states of the United States, these 10 states have the highest student debt with an average starting at $36,367 to $31,217. Below is a list of these state along with its average student loan debt amount.

New Hampshire has the highest average student loan per student which is $36,367 from the class of 2016.

Rhode Island has the least average student loan per student which is $31,217 from the 2016 classes.

Highest average debt states Average Student loan debt
New Hampshire       $36,367
Pennsylvania $35,759
Connecticut $35,494
Delaware $33,838
Minnesota $31,915
Massachusetts $31,563
South Dakota $31,362
Maine $31,295
Alabama $31,275
Rhode Island $31,217

States with low student debt

These are the states with the lowest number of student loan debt compared to other states in the united states.

The total data of these states with the average debt is presented below.

Utah has the lowest average student loan debt per student which is $19,975 from the class of 2016.

Oklahoma has the highest average low student loan debt with $25,856.

Lowest Average Debt  states Average Student loan debt
Utah $19,975
New Mexico $21,373
California $22,744
Arizona $23,447
Nevada $24,128
Florida $24,461
Washington $24,609
Wyoming $25,378
North Carolina $25,562
Oklahoma $25,856


Student loan debt per capita in select U.S states

An average of $4,920 is on student Loan Debt per capita.

Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan are among the highest in student loan debt per capita.

  • Arizona - $4,760

  • California - $4,160

  • Florida - $4,480

  • Michigan - $5,330

  • New york - $5,570

  • Ohio - $5,700

  • Pennsylvania - $5,690

  • Texas - $4,510


Student loan by age group

For the past 5 years, student loan debt has spanned across all the age category. The biggest hike in student loan debt comes from the age group of 60 to 69 years. On a financial figure, this group indicates a $35.6 billion hike above the same time, which is the least progress among all groups of age.

Years <30 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+
2013 $362.0 $354.1 $188.1 $124.9 $49.8
2014 $370.5 $383.1 $207.6 $136.5 $57.7
2015 $376.4 $408.4 $229.6 $149.7 $66.7
2016 $383.2 $437.4 $255.6 $163.2 $76.3
2017 $383.8 $461.0 $278.9 $177.2 $85.4


Number of student loans by age group

The highest concentration of student loan falls under the 30-year group and following it is the 30-39 year group

As of 2017, these are the number of student loans borrowed by age group.

  • <30 years old: 16.8 million

  • 30-39 years old: 12.3 million

  • 40-49 years old: 7.3 million

  • 50-59 years old: 5.2 million

  • 60+: 3.2 million

Age Dollars outstanding ($ in billion) Borrowers (in millions)
<24 $8.5 0.4
25-34 $195.7 3.5
35-49 $171.2 2.6
50-61 $48.2 0.7
62+ $15.1 0.2

Source: Enterprise Data Warehouse

Outstanding student loan types

  • Stafford subsidized- $272.2 billion (29.6 million borrowers)

  • Stafford Unsubsidized- $463.3 billion (28.4 million borrowers)

  • Stafford combined - $735.5 billion (33.0 million borrowers)

  • Grad PLUS- $59.6 billion (1.2 million borrowers)

  • Parent PLUS- $83.7 billion (3.5 million borrowers)

  • Perkins- $7.6 billion (2.5 million borrowers

  • Consolidation- $489.0 billion (12.0  million borrowers)

Outstanding student loan debts

Around 33 million students borrowers have nearly $1.1 billion in direct loans. Federal Family Education Loans had around $301 billion from 14.5 million students before it was terminated in 2010.

  • Direct loans - $1,066.8 billion (33.3 million borrowers)

  • Federal Family Education Loans(FFEL) - $301.1 billion (14.5 million borrowers)

  • Perkins Loans - $7.6 billion (2.5 million borrowers)

  • Total - $1,375.5 billion

Outstanding student loan debt by loan status

An is an estimate of $600 billion on direct loan among 17.8 million students.

  • In school- $133.5 billion (7.4 million borrowers)

  • Repayment- $600.0 billion (17.8 million borrowers)

  • Deferment- $103.0 billion (3.3 million borrowers)

  • Forbearance- $108.3 billion (2.6 million borrowers)

  • Default- $88.4 billion (4.7 million borrowers)

  • Grace period- $25.9 billion (1.2 million borrowers)

Student loan debt by the repayment plan

There are around 12.8 million borrowers with $233.5 billion of student loan debt. Borrowers on the income-based repayment(IBR) plan owe about $192.0 billion

  • Level repayment plan (<10 years): $233.5 billion (12.8 million borrowers).

  • Level repayment plan (>10 years): $79.1 billion (1.8 million borrowers)

  • Graduated repayment plan (<10 years): $88.3 billion (3.3 million borrowers)

  • Graduated repayment plan (>10 years): $14.3 billion (0.3 million borrowers)

  • Income-contingent repayment plan(ICR) plan: $27.6 billion (0.6 million borrowers)

  • Income-based repayment (IBR) plan: $192.0 billion (3.6 million borrowers)

  • Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Plan: $68.3 billion (1.2 million borrowers)

  • Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) plan: $108.8 billion (2.0 million borrowers)

Servicer portfolio by the repayment plan

As on 31st of December 2017, AES/PHEAA and Navient serviced the biggest portfolios of student loans in repayment. FedLoan Servicing is the biggest service provider of federal direct and federal family education loans

Other importance of student loan debt management

  • Around 68% of seniors who graduated from public and non-profit colleges in 2015 still have loan debt

  • 1.3 million students graduated with student loan debt in 2012 out of which 66% of the graduates are from public colleges and 75% of them graduated from private colleges

  • Around 47% of private loan borrowers in 2011-12 have borrowed a lesser amount compared to the Federal Stafford Loans

  • Private loan volume peaks were recorded to be around $18.1 billion between 2007-2008. This volume reduced to about $7.8 billion in the year 2014-2015

  • 6% of undergraduates - 1373,000 students used private loan in 2011-2012

  • 4/5 of 2016 graduates are in student loan debts

  • The average debt of Public Colleges in 2012 was $25,550 and that's 25% higher compared to 2008

  • The average debt of Private Colleges in 2012 was $39,950, that's 26% higher compared to 2008

Impact of student Loan debts

Recent studies reported that 70% of college students who graduated leave the school with an average loan debt of $38,000. The debt of the age group doesn't go away swiftly.

The student loan debt is one of the main reasons why young pass-out fails to start a venture or business.

Research on 2016 revealed that 81% of women born in 1990 have married and 38% of those born in the year 1980 hasn't.

Economists report that millennials have to double up the amount on student loan repayment far more than their parents do towards retirement if they plan on having a comfortable lifestyle after they leave the job.


  What is the average student loan debt in 2018?

While viewing on Federal student loan there is a debt of $1.41 Trillion which is been borrowed by 42.2 million people on the 30th of 2018. An average federal student loan debt per person is around $33,460 in which 77% owed $40,000 or less, 2.7 million people have $100,000.

  Can I get a car loan while on a debt management plan?

If you are in a debt management program should not affect your ability to finance on a car or qualify for a student loan. Creditors may void benefits by you apply for a new credit card on debt management programs which cannot be extended to car loans, student loans, and other debts.

  What is the average student loan debt interest rate?

From the period of 2006 to 2018 the average federal student loan with an interest rate of 4.81% for undergraduates and 6.38% for graduates students. 7.44% for parents and graduate student taking out on PLUS loans.

  How many millennials have student loans?

Millennials are people ages between 25-34 who have a debt of $42,000 on most of its student loans. The average debt on the student is around $33,000.

  Is a DMP good idea?

Debt Management Plan (DMP) is less than normal payments on your debt, So the credit history will be partially making payments towards the debt to get it closed. If you are planning to make the payment regularly without missing any due at the same time you are ready to pay more as along the timeline to complete it as fast without any worry then DMP is good for you.

  How long does it take to pay off student loans on average?

under the standard repayment plan of federal student loan, the borrowers are put on a 10-year pay off debt. But studies show that average undergraduates take 21 years to pay it off. Under federal income passed the repayment option, the debt is forgiven after 20 years.

  Are student loan forgiven after 10 years?  

Under IDR plans its eligible for forgiveness after a period of 20 - 25 years. But, Borrowers who work full time for a non-profit organization and public service employers can be forgiven their loans after 10 years with the PSLF.

  Will a DMP affect my job?

The DMP can reduce the credit rating of yours in the long run and will better it off the score by getting seriously with the lenders. It can get a default. If the creditor is agreeing on the DMP it might be shown as default in the credit report as it makes a deduction on payments.

  How long does a debt management plan stay on your credit record?

DMP is not registered to your credit file it reduced payments can impact on few areas of the credit file. Court action or missed payments and default can remove 6 years from the date it happened even after fully repaying them.

  Difference between Debt management plan and an IVA?

A sum of debt is been written off at the end in IVA. But, in DMP all the debts are repaid. after the legal approval of IVA, all unsecured creditor bound by the IVA and cannot further take legal actions. Whereas DMP is an informal debt plan with creditors to pursue further legal action.