Average Annual Amount Borrowed in Federal Loans over Time

In 2017-18, undergraduates taking subsidized and/or unsubsidized Direct Loans borrowed an average of $6,570—$210 more (in 2017 dollars) than a decade earlier and $220 less than in 2012-13.

Figure 9B: Average Annual Amount Borrowed in Federal Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS Loans in 2017 Dollars, 2002-03 to 2017-18, Selected Years

Notes & Sources 

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

SOURCE: Table 6.

  • The number of parents borrowing Parent PLUS Loans in 2017-18 was 12% of the number of undergraduates taking subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loans (779,000 vs. 6.5 million). However, the average parent loan was $16,450, 2.5 times as much as the average undergraduate student loan.
  • In 2017-18, 416,000 graduate students borrowed through the Grad PLUS program; 1.4 million borrowed unsubsidized Direct Loans. The average amount borrowed through the PLUS program was $5,950 higher than the average Direct Loan ($24,810 vs. $18,860).