Cumulative Debt of Bachelor’s Degree Recipients by Age

Students who earn their bachelor’s degrees when they are age 24 or older are more likely to borrow and to have higher levels of debt than those who complete college at a younger age.

Figure 2015_16A: Cumulative Debt of 2011-12 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients by Age

Figure 16A represents Cumulative Debt of 2011-12 Bachelor’s Degree Recipients by Age. For a corresponding Section 508-compliant data table, see http://trends.collegeboard.org/student-aid.

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: Percentages on the vertical axis are percentages of bachelor’s degree recipients in each age group. Age was as of December 2011. Includes: 1) 2011-12 bachelor’s degree recipients regardless of when they first enrolled, 2) students who were U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and 3) both federal and nonfederal borrowing. Percentages may not sum to 100 because of rounding.

SOURCES: NCES, National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, 2012; PowerStats calculations by the authors.

  • Among the 60% of 2011-12 bachelor’s degree recipients who were age 23 or younger, 34% did not have education debt; 11% borrowed $40,000 or more.
  • About 21% of those who graduated between the ages of 24 and 39 did not borrow. Twenty-five percent of those who were between the ages of 24 and 29 and 33% of those who were ages 30 to 39 borrowed $40,000 or more.
  • The 9% of bachelor’s degree recipients who were age 40 or older graduated with less debt than those between the ages of 24 and 39.