Average Annual Amount Borrowed in Federal Loans over Time

In 2016-17, undergraduates taking subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loans borrowed an average of $6,590—$690 more (in 2016 dollars) than a decade earlier, but $70 less than in 2011-12.

Figure 7B: Average Annual Amount Borrowed in Federal Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS Loans in 2016 Dollars, 2001-02 to 2016-17, Selected Years

Figure 7B represents Average Annual Amount Borrowed in Federal Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS Loans in 2016 Dollars, 2001-02 to 2016-17, Selected Years. For a corresponding Section 508-compliant data table, download the Excel spreadsheet.

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: Graduate students became eligible to borrow PLUS Loans in 2006-07.

SOURCE: Table 6.

  • The number of parents borrowing PLUS Loans in 2016-17 was 12% of the number of undergraduates taking subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loans (794,000 vs. 6.8 million). However, the average parent loan was $15,880, about 2.4 times as much as the average undergraduate student loan.
  • Parents can borrow up to the full cost of attendance (less other financial assistance received) through the Parent PLUS program. Between 2001-02 and 2016-17, the average size of Parent PLUS loans increased by 44%. The average size of federal loans to undergraduate students, which are subject to strict borrowing limits, increased by 7%.