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Compare Your Student Loan Debt to National Studies [Using 2014 Federal Reserve Data]

If student debt is or will be part of your life, you should consider how you stack up or will stack up against other borrowers. It’s one thing to know that you’ll owe $65,000 when you finish your veterinary degree. It’s quite another thing to realize that this level of debt will place you in the 90th percentile of all student loan debtors nationwide.

The Consumer Credit Panel

The statistics in this post are based on studies by staff members at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY). These studies publish percentile figures for student loan indebtedness as derived from the FRBNY’s Consumer Credit Panel for the fourth quarter of 2014 (the 2014 CCP).

The 2014 CCP comprises a large random sample of US residents who have credit files with Equifax, a credit reporting company. The initial sample involves approximately 40 million people which represents 5 percent of all US-based credit files. To save on data processing costs, the study of student indebtedness is based upon a statistically significant subset of the 40 million individuals. All within this subset have some level of student loan debt.

For 2014, the CCP reports a median student debt of $14,400, which means that if you listed the total debts of all the studied debtors in numerical order, as many would fall above the $14,400 mark as below it.

For 2014, the CCP reports a mean student debt of $26,700, which means that if you added up the total student debt and divided that by the total number of debtors studied, the resulting value would be about $26,700. Since the reported mean is almost twice as high as the reported median, it signals the presence of some big borrowers. In fact, if you look at the data you’ll see that about 4.1 percent of those studied owe $100,000 or more.

Student Loan Balances By Percentile Rank

To see where you rank in percentile student debt figures for the 2014 CCP (as expanded by a process of linear interpolation), simply scroll down the left hand column until you reach the dollar figure that’s nearest to but not over the amount of your total student loan debt. The corresponding number in the right hand column reports your percentile ranking.

If you owe at least x dollars in student loans, you owe more than y percent of all borrowers:

$5,000 20.83%
$6,000 24.42%
$7,000 28.02%
$8,000 31.61%
$9,000 35.20%
$10,000 38.79%
$11,000 40.69%
$12,000 43.49%
$13,000 46.30%
$14,000 49.10%
$15,000 50.67%
$16,000 52.24%
$17,000 53.81%
$18,000 55.38%
$19,000 56.95%
$20,000 58.52%
$21,000 60.10%
$22,000 61.67%
$23,000 63.24%
$24,000 64.81%
$25,000 67.28%
$26,000 68.02%
$27,000 68.76%
$28,000 69.50%
$29,000 70.23%
$30,000 70.97%
$31,000 71.71%
$32,000 72.45%
$33,000 73.19%
$34,000 73.92%
$35,000 74.66%
$36,000 75.40%
$37,000 76.14%
$38,000 76.88%
$39,000 77.61%
$40,000 78.35%
$41,000 79.09%
$42,000 79.83%
$43,000 80.57%
$44,000 81.30%
$45,000 82.04%
$46,000 82.78%
$47,000 83.52%
$48,000 84.26%
$49,000 84.99%
$50,000 85.73%
$51,000 86.02%
$52,000 86.31%
$53,000 86.60%
$54,000 86.89%
$55,000 87.18%
$56,000 87.46%
$57,000 87.75%
$58,000 88.04%
$59,000 88.33%
$60,000 88.62%
$61,000 88.91%
$62,000 89.20%
$63,000 89.48%
$64,000 89.77%
$65,000 90.06%
$66,000 90.35%
$67,000 90.64%
$68,000 90.93%
$69,000 91.22%
$70,000 91.50%
$71,000 91.79%
$72,000 92.08%
$73,000 92.37%
$74,000 92.66%
$75,000 92.95%
$76,000 93.06%
$77,000 93.18%
$78,000 93.29%
$79,000 93.40%
$80,000 93.52%
$81,000 93.63%
$82,000 93.75%
$83,000 93.86%
$84,000 93.98%
$85,000 94.09%
$86,000 94.20%
$87,000 94.32%
$88,000 94.43%
$89,000 94.55%
$90,000 94.66%
$91,000 94.78%
$92,000 94.89%
$93,000 95.00%
$94,000 95.12%
$95,000 95.23%
$96,000 95.35%
$97,000 95.46%
$98,000 95.57%
$99,000 95.69%
$100,000 95.80%
$101,000 95.85%
$102,000 95.90%
$103,000 95.95%
$104,000 95.99%
$105,000 96.04%
$106,000 96.09%
$107,000 96.13%
$108,000 96.18%
$109,000 96.23%
$110,000 96.28%
$111,000 96.32%
$112,000 96.37%
$113,000 96.42%
$114,000 96.47%
$115,000 96.51%
$116,000 96.56%
$117,000 96.61%
$118,000 96.66%
$119,000 96.70%
$120,000 96.75%
$121,000 96.80%
$122,000 96.85%
$123,000 96.89%
$124,000 96.94%
$125,000 96.99%
$126,000 97.03%
$127,000 97.08%
$128,000 97.13%
$129,000 97.18%
$130,000 97.22%
$131,000 97.27%
$132,000 97.32%
$133,000 97.37%
$134,000 97.41%
$135,000 97.46%
$136,000 97.51%
$137,000 97.56%
$138,000 97.60%
$139,000 97.65%
$140,000 97.70%
$141,000 97.74%
$142,000 97.79%
$143,000 97.84%
$144,000 97.89%
$145,000 97.93%
$146,000 97.98%
$147,000 98.03%
$148,000 98.08%
$149,000 98.12%
$150,000 98.17%
$151,000 98.19%
$152,000 98.21%
$153,000 98.23%
$154,000 98.25%
$155,000 98.27%
$156,000 98.29%
$157,000 98.31%
$158,000 98.33%
$159,000 98.36%
$160,000 98.38%
$161,000 98.40%
$162,000 98.42%
$163,000 98.44%
$164,000 98.46%
$165,000 98.48%
$166,000 98.50%
$167,000 98.52%
$168,000 98.54%
$169,000 98.56%
$170,000 98.58%
$171,000 98.60%
$172,000 98.62%
$173,000 98.64%
$174,000 98.66%
$175,000 98.68%
$176,000 98.70%
$177,000 98.72%
$178,000 98.74%
$179,000 98.77%
$180,000 98.79%
$181,000 98.81%
$182,000 98.83%
$183,000 98.85%
$184,000 98.87%
$185,000 98.89%
$186,000 98.91%
$187,000 98.93%
$188,000 98.95%
$189,000 98.97%
$190,000 98.99%
$191,000 99.01%
$192,000 99.03%
$193,000 99.05%
$194,000 99.07%
$195,000 99.09%
$196,000 99.11%
$197,000 99.13%
$198,000 99.15%
$199,000 99.18%
$200,000 99.20%

Sources: http://libertystreeteconomics.newyorkfed.org/2015/04/just-released-press-briefing-on-student-loan-borrowing-and-repayment-trends-2015.html#.VltW1NXR-M8 and https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/newsevents/mediaadvisory/2015/Student-Loan-Press-Briefing-Presentation.pdf.

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2 Responses to Compare Your Student Loan Debt to National Studies [Using 2014 Federal Reserve Data]

  1. Free to Pursue November 30, 2015 at 8:12 AM #

    Wow. You truly are the frugal geek (definitely meant as a compliment). Thanks for all the comparison charts. What a great niche!
    Free to Pursue recently posted…The Worst Loss of AllMy Profile

    • A Noonan Moose November 30, 2015 at 8:19 AM #

      Thanks F2P! I’ve always figured that the best way to chart a better future is to use lots and lots of charts!

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