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
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%.