Average Student Loan Payment

Report Highlights:

  • The average monthly student loan payment is $393.
  • It takes student borrowers an average of 20 years, or 240 monthly payments, to repay their student loan debt.
  • At a 6% interest rate over 20 years, the average student loan accrues $26,000 in interest alone, or 67.1% of the total cost of repayment.

Most of the 43.4 million Americans with student loan debt make regular monthly payments to diminish their debt. The average student loan payment can range widely among individuals of various income and debt levels. Lump sum payments are rare and usually only happen in the event of student loan default. Instead, most borrowers pay off their debts in regular installments.

Monthly student loan payments on EducationData

Average Student Loan Payments

An appropriate monthly payment is based on multiple variables. The indebted student’s income is a significant factor in determining monthly payments. The total debt and interest rate as well as the borrower’s repayment timeline may all affect the dollar amount of their monthly payments.

    • $393 is the average monthly student loan payment.
    • 10% of income should go toward paying off debts according to federal guidelines; $393 is 10% of $47,160.
    • 36% of income is the maximum amount that should go toward paying off debt according to the same federal guidelines; $393 is 36% of $13,100.
    • 10 years is the ideal timeline for paying off student loan debt according to financial experts.
    • The mean starting salary for among all new graduates is $55,800, 10% of which is $465.
    • 3% is the rough interest rate on the most commonly used federal student loans.
    • The average debt per borrower is $36,140; the majority of undergraduate borrowers owe less than $30,000.
    • The average debt per enrolled student is $30,000. These are the only parameters available for some historical data.
Average Student Loan Payments (3% APR)
Monthly
Payment
% of IncomeIncomeAverage
Debt
Repayment TermUltimate
Cost
Number of
Payments
$39310%$47,160$40,70010 years$47,160120
$39310%$47,160$30,0007 yrs, 1 mo$33,30085
$46510%$55,800$30,0005 yrs, 10 mos$32,80070
$2906.2%$55,800$30,00010 years$34,800120
$2907.3%$47,160$30,00010 years$34,800120
$46510%$55,800$48,15610 years$55,800120

Class of 2021 Student Loan Payments

Because student loan interest rates are at historic lows, current students may reasonably expect to pay off their student loan debts within the recommended 10-year timeline.

      • Between $354 and $541 is the ideal monthly payment for a newly graduated Bachelor’s degree holder.
      • 2.75% is the interest rate for Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized federal student loans to undergraduate borrowers.
      • Undergraduates of public institutions owe an average of $29,500 per enrolled student.
      • $42,500 is a low-end starting salary for a new graduate with a Bachelor’s degree.
      • $73,800 is a high-end salary.
      • $64,900 is the average annual salary for a recent graduate with a Bachelor’s degree.
      • $52,000 is the median salary for new graduates with Bachelor’s degrees.
Undergraduate Class of 2021 Student Loan Payments
Monthly
Payment
% of IncomeIncomeAverage
Debt
Repayment TermUltimate
Cost
Number of
Payments
$35410%$42,500$29,5007 yrs, 9 mos$32,80093
$39311.1%$42,500“”6 yrs, 10 mos$32,40083
“”“”“”$35,0008 yrs, 4 mos$39,200100
“”“”“”$45,30011 yrs, 2 mos$52,700135
“”9%$52,000$29,5006 yrs, 10 mos$32,40083
“”7%$64,900“”“”“”“”
$43310%$52,000$29,5006 yrs, 2 mos$32,10075
“”“”“”$35,0007 yrs, 6 mos$38,80090
“”“”“”$45,30010 yrs$51,900105
$54110%$64,900$29,5004 yrs, 10 mos$31,50059
“”“”“”$35,0005 yrs, 10 mos$37,90071
“”“”“”$45,3007 yrs, 9 mos$50,40094

Average debt among degree holders by institution type 1 on EducationData

Associate’s Student Loan Payments

Student borrowers with Associate’s degrees are the most likely to pay off their student loans faster than other degree holders. From a purely financial stand-point, this gives the average Associate’s degree the highest value in terms of cost-benefit ratio.

      • Just 41% of Associate’s degree holders who graduated from public institutions use student loans to pay for school.
      • 84% of attendees of private, nonprofit schools take on student loan debt.
      • 88% of attendees of private, for-profit schools take on student loan debt.
      • $46,100 is the average annual salary for a recently graduated Associate’s degree holder.
      • $33,800 is the low-end average annual salary.
      • 4 to 7+ years is the projected student loan debt repayment period for Associate’s degree holders who graduate in 2021.
Associate’s Student Loan Payments at 10% Income
Monthly
Payment
IncomeAverage
Debt
Repayment TermUltimate
Cost
Number of
Payments
$281$33,800$17,8005 yrs, 9 mos$19,30067
“”“”$28,3009 yrs, 7 mos$32,200115
“”“”$30,10010 yrs, 3 mos$34,600124
$384$46,100$17,8004 yrs, 1 mo$18,80049
“”“”$28,3006 yrs, 9 mos$31,00081
“”“”$30,1007 yrs, 3 mos$33,20087

Average Payments for Graduate Student Loans

Graduate students logically must make higher monthly payments. For some degrees, this doesn’t just mean paying a higher dollar amount; it may also mean a significant portion of a borrower’s income goes toward repaying student loan debt.

      • 4.3% is the interest rate for Direct Unsubsidized federal student loans to graduate or professional borrowers.
      • 5.3% is the interest rate for Direct PLUS loans, which go to graduate or professional borrowers as well as parents of undergraduates borrowing on their behalf.
      • $58,300 is the average student debt for a borrower who graduated from a public institution with a Master’s degree.
      • $96,700 is the average debt for Master’s degree holders who attended a private, for-profit institution.
      • $77,800 is the average salary for a Master’s degree holder.
      • $42,000 is the low-end salary for a Master’s degree holder.
Master’s Student Loan Payments
Monthly
Payment
% of IncomeIncome% APRAverage
Debt
Repayment TermUltimate
Cost
Number of
Payments
$35010%$42,0004.3%$58,30021 yrs, 2 mos$88,900254
“”“”“”“”$77,00036 yrs, 2 mos$151,900434
“”“”“”“”$96,700107 yrs, 4 mos$450,8001,289
“”“”“”5.3%$58,30025 yrs, 2 mos$105,700302
“”“”“”“”$77,00067 yrs, 5 mos$283,000809
“”“”“”“”$96,700NA*NANA
$43012.3%“”“”“”94 yrs, 6 mos$487,5001,134
$64810%$77,8004.3%$58,3009 yrs, 1 mo$70,500109
“”“”“”“”$96,70017 yrs, 10 mos$138,600214
“”“”“”“”$58,3009 yrs, 7 mos$74,500115
“”“”“”“”$77,00012 yrs, 11 mos$100,500156
“”“”“”5.3%“”14 yrs, 1 mo$109,400169
“”“”“”“”$96,70020 yrs, 4 mos$158,200245
$59917.1%$42,0004.3%$58,30010 years$71,800120
$62717.9%“”5.3%“”10 years$75,200120
$79122.6%“”4.3%$77,00010 years$94,900120
“”12.2%$77,800“”“”10 years$94,900120
$82823.7%$42,0005.3%“”10 years$99,400120
“”12.8%$77,800“”“”10 years$99,400120
$99328%$42,0004.3%$96,70010 years$119,100120
“”15.3%$77,800“”$77,00010 years$119,100120
$1,04029.7%$42,0005.3%$96,70010 years$124,800120
$1,03916%$77,800“”“”10 years$124,800120

*It is not possible to pay off this loan at this rate.

Monthly Payments for Professional and Doctorate Degree Holders

The average debt for a graduate from a private, nonprofit institution with a Professional degree is about the same as the average medical school debt.

      • $101,100 is the average salary for people with Doctorate degrees.
      • $69,000 is a low-end salary for Doctorate degree holders.
      • $98,700 is the average debt for a Doctorate degree.
      • $243,300 is the average debt for Professional degree holders who attended private, nonprofit institutions.
      • $100,000 is the average annual salary for someone with a Professional degree.
      • $62,500 is a low-end salary for someone with a Professional degree.
Doctoral Student Loan Payments
Monthly
Payment
% of IncomeIncome% APRAverage
Debt
Repayment TermUltimate
Cost
Number of
Payments
$57510%$69,0004.3%$98,70022 yrs, 3 mos$153,500267
$57510%$69,0004.3%$100,70023 yrs, 0 mos$158,800277
$57510%$69,0004.3%$171,400NANANA
$57510%$69,0005.3%$98,70026 yrs, 10 mos$185,200322
$57510%$69,0005.3%$100,70028 yrs, 1 mo$193,800337
$57510%$69,0005.3%$171,400NANANA
$62310.8%$69,0004.3%$171,40099 yrs, 2 mos$741,6001,191
$76113.2%$69,0005.3%$171,40099 yrs, 4 mos$907,0001,192
$84310%$101,1004.3%$98,70012 yrs, 8 mos$128,200152
$84310%$101,1004.3%$100,70013 yrs, 0 mos$131,700156
$84310%$101,1004.3%$171,40030 yrs, 5 mos$307,300365
$84310%$101,1005.3%$98,70013 yrs, 9 mos$139,300165
$84310%$101,1005.3%$100,70014 yrs, 2 mos$143,400170
$84310%$101,1005.3%$171,40043 yrs, 2 mos$436,700518
$1,01412.0%$101,1004.3%$98,70010 years$121,600120
$1,01417.6%$69,0004.3%$98,70010 years$121,600120
$1,03418.0%$69,0004.3%$100,70010 years$124,100120
$1,03412.3%$101,1004.3%$100,70010 years$124,100120
$1,06118.5%$69,0005.3%$98,70010 years$127,400120
$1,06112.6%$101,1005.3%$98,70010 years$127,400120
$1,08318.8%$69,0005.3%$100,70010 years$129,900120
$1,08312.9%$101,1005.3%$100,70010 years$129,900120
$1,76030.6%$69,0004.3%$171,40010 years$211,200120
$1,76020.9%$101,1004.3%$171,40010 years$211,200120
$1,84432.1%$69,0005.3%$171,40010 years$221,200120
$1,84421.9%$101,1005.3%$171,40010 years$221,200120
Professional Student Loan Payments
Monthly
Payment
% of IncomeIncome% APRAverage
Debt
Repayment TermUltimate
Cost
Number of
Payments
$52110%$62,5004.3%$152,600NANANA
$55511%$62,5004.3%$152,60071 yrs, 11 mos$494,300863
$1,56730%$62,5004.3%$152,60010 years$188,000120
$88017%$62,5004.3%$237,40079 yrs, 3 mos$836,900951
$1,87536%$62,5004.3%$237,40014 yrs, 1 mo$316,900169
$2,43848.7%$62,5004.3%$237,40010 years$292,500120
$80015.4%$62,5004.3%$203,60056 yrs, 7 mos$543,500680
$1,87536%$62,5004.3%$203,60011 yrs, 6 mos$258,300138
$2,09140.1%$62,5004.3%$203,60010 years$250,900120
$70013.4%$62,5005.3%$152,60062 yrs, 3 mos$523,000747
$1,64131.5%$62,5005.3%$152,60010 years$196,900120
$1,06020.4%$62,5005.3%$237,40085 yrs, 7 mos$1,088,4001,027
$1,87536%$62,5005.3%$237,40015 yrs, 6 mos$348,500186
$2,55349.0%$62,5005.3%$237,40010 years$306,400120
$1,00019.2%$62,5005.3%$203,60043 yrs, 5 mos$520,800521
$1,87536%$62,5005.3%$203,60012 yrs, 4 mos$277,900148
$2,18942%$62,5005.3%$203,60010 years$262,700120
$83310%$100,0004.3%$152,60024 yrs, 11 mos$248,800299
$1,56718.8%$100,000%$152,60010 years$188,022120
$83310%$100,0004.3%$237,400yrs, mos$
$83310%$100,0004.3%$237,400NANANA
$90010.8%$100,0004.3%$237,40067 yrs, 8 mos$730,700812
$2,43829.3%$100,0004.3%$237,40010 years$292,500120
$83310%$100,0004.3%$203,60048 yrs, 7 mos$485,800583
$2,09125.1%$100,0004.3%$203,60010 years$250,900120
$83310%$100,0005.3%$152,60031 yrs, 4 mos$313,000376
$1,64119.7%$100,0005.3%$152,60010 years$192,900120
$83310%$100,0005.3%$237,400NANANA
$1,10013.2%$100,0005.3%$237,40057 yrs, 11 mos$764,200695
$2,55330.6%$100,0005.3%$237,40010 years$306,400120
$83310%$100,0005.3%$203,600NANANA
$1,00012.0%$100,0005.3%$203,60043 yrs, 5 mos$520,800521
$2,18926.3%$100,0005.3%$203,60010 years$262,700120

Payments for Medical and Law School Debt

Among professional degree holders, medical and law degrees are among the most commonly sought. They are also among the most expensive. The average law school debt is more than four times higher than the average undergraduate student debt but still only two-thirds of the average medical school debt. Further, the average starting salary for a new law school graduate is 15% lower than the average salary for someone with a bachelor’s degree.

      • $160,000 is the average student loan debt for a law school graduate.
      • $55,200 is the average starting salary for a law school graduate.
      • $127,000 is an average salary for an experienced attorney.
      • $188,000 is an average salary for a patent attorney.
      • $241,600 is the average student loan debt for a medical school graduate.
      • $63,200 is a first-year resident’s annual salary.
      • $174,000 is a general physician’s salary.
      • $400,000 is an anesthesiologist’s salary.
Law School Monthly Student Loan Payments ($160,000 Average Debt)
Monthly
Payment
% of IncomeIncome% APRRepayment TermUltimate
Cost
Number of
Payments
$46010%$55,2004.3%NANANA
$65014.1%$55,2004.3%49 yrs, 10 mos$388,400598
$1,64335.7%$55,2004.3%10 years$197,100120
$1,05810%$127,0004.3%18 yrs, 2 mos$230,900218
$1,64315.5%$127,0004.3%10 years$197,100120
$1,56710%$188,0004.3%10 yrs, 7 mos$199,600127
$75016.3%$55,2005.3%53 yrs, 11 mos$485,200647
$1,65636%$55,2005.3%10 yrs, 6 mos$209,100126
$1,72137.4%$55,2005.3%10 years$206,500120
$1,05810%$127,0005.3%20 yrs, 10 mos$264,700250
$1,72116.3%$127,0005.3%10 years$206,500120
$1,56710%$188,0005.3%11 yrs, 4 mos$213,200136
$1,72111%$188,0005.3%10 years$206,500120
Medical School Monthly Student Loan Payments ($241,600 Average Debt)
Monthly
Payment
% of IncomeIncome% APRRepayment TermUltimate
Cost
Number of
Payments
$52710%$63,2004.3%NANANA
$100019%$63,2004.3%46 yrs, 9 mos$561,400561
$2,48147.1%$63,2004.3%10$297,700120
$1,45010%$174,0004.3%21 yrs, 2 mos$368,500254
$2,48117.1%$174,0004.3%10 years$297,700120
$3,33010%$400,0004.3%7 yrs, 0 mos$280,30084
$52710%$63,2005.3%NANANA
$1,10020.9%$63,2005.3%66 yrs, 4 mos$875,800796
$2,59849.3%$63,2005.3%10 years$311,800120
$1,45010%$174,0005.3%25 yrs, 2 mos$438,100302
$2,59817.9%$174,005.3%10 years$311,800120
$3,33010%$400,0005.3%7 yrs, 4 mos$291,90088

Private Student Loan Payments

Private student loans, for the most part, come from academic institutions as well as banks and credit unions. The total amount of private student loan debt is difficult to track because little of the related data is a matter of public record.

      • 1.2% is the lowest known private student loan interest rate, available only to those with excellent credit.
      • 3.82% is the low-end private student loan interest rate for most student borrowers.
      • 14.5% is the high-end interest rate.
      • Most students owe between $20,000 and $40,000 in student loan debt.
      • 56% of indebted borrowers owe $20,000 or less in student loan
      • 34.3% of indebted student borrowers owe $10,000 or less in federal student loans.
      • 17.1% of borrowers owe less than $5,000.
      • 21.4% of borrowers owe between $10,000 and $20,000 in student loans.
      • 18.4% owe $40,000 to $100,000.
      • 7.4% owe $100,000 or more.
      • 2% owe in excess of $200,000.
Monthly Private Student Loan Payments ($64,900 Average Income)
Monthly
Payment
% of Income% APRAverage
Debt
Repayment TermUltimate
Cost
Number of
Payments
$54110%1.2%$15,0002 yrs, 4 mos$15,20028
$54110%1.2%$30,0004 yrs, 9 mos$30,90057
$54110%1.2%$60,0009 yrs, 10 mos$63,600118
$54110%3.82%$15,0002 yrs, 5 mos$15,70029
$54110%3.82%$30,0005 years, 1 mos$33,10061
$54110%3.82%$60,00011 yrs, 5 mos$74,100137
$60211.1%3.82%$60,00010 years$72,300120
$54110%14.5%$15,0002 yrs, 10 mos$18,40034
$54110%14.5%$30,0007 yrs, 8 mos$49,90092
$54110%14.5%$60,000NA>NANA
$73013.5%14.5%$60,00034 yrs, 7 mos$302,900415
$95017.6%14.5%$60,00010 years$114,000120

Sources

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  2. U.S. Federal Reserve, Consumer Credit – G.19
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  5. ED OFSA, The Standard Repayment Plan is the Basic Repayment Plan for Loans from the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program
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  7. NCES, The Condition of Education: Loans for Undergraduate Students
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    Associate’s Degree?: The Return On Investment For Graduates And Taxpayers
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