Percentage of Undergraduate Students Borrowing Federal Loans over Time

In 2017-18, 71% of undergraduates did not borrow either subsidized or unsubsidized Stafford Loans. That percentage was 70% in 2007-08 and 63% in 2012-13.

Figure 12: Percentage of Undergraduate Students Borrowing Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Student Loans, 2007-08, 2012-13, and 2017-18

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: IPEDS headcount enrollments are adjusted for the difference between total headcount, which counts students more than once if they are enrolled in more than one institution at the same time, and unduplicated headcount reported by the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). Twelve-month undergraduate headcount for 2017-18 is estimated from the NSC data. Percentages may not sum to 100 because of rounding.

SOURCES: NCES, Postsecondary Institutions and Cost of Attendance in 2017-18; Degrees and Other Awards Conferred, 2016-17, and 12-Month Enrollment, 2016-17: First Look (Preliminary Data) and earlier editions; National Student Clearinghouse, Current Term Enrollment Estimates: Spring 2018; U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid Data Center, Title IV Program Volume Reports and Aid Recipients Summary; calculations by the authors.

  • In 2017-18, 5% of undergraduate students borrowed subsidized loans only, 5% borrowed unsubsidized loans only, and 19% borrowed from both programs. In other words, two-thirds of the 29% who borrowed Stafford Loans took both subsidized and unsubsidized loans.
  • A decade earlier, in 2007-08, 12% of undergraduates borrowed only subsidized loans. Among the 29% who borrowed, less than half of the students borrowed both subsidized and unsubsidized loans.