Total Federal and Nonfederal Loans over Time

Students and parents borrowed $106.8 billion in education loans in 2015-16, down from a peak of $124.2 billion (in 2015 dollars) in 2010-11.

Figure 5: Total Federal and Nonfederal Loans in 2015 Dollars by Type, 1995-96 to 2015-16

Notes & Sources 

NOTES: Nonfederal loans include loans to students from states and institutions in addition to private loans issued by banks, credit unions, and other lenders. Values for all types of nonfederal loans are best estimates and are less precise than federal loan amounts.

SOURCES: See Notes and Sources for a list of sources for loans included in Figure 5.

  • In 1995-96, 66% of Stafford Loans were subsidized loans, on which the government paid the interest while students were in school. This percentage declined to 51% in 2005-06 and to 46% in 2011-12. With graduate students no longer eligible for the program, subsidized loans fell to 33% of all Stafford Loans in 2012-13 and to 31% in 2015-16.
  • Between 2010-11 and 2015-16, total borrowing from Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct and Perkins Loan programs declined by 27%, while total borrowing from the Parent PLUS Loan program increased by 3%.
  • Between 2010-11 and 2015-16, graduate student borrowing through the PLUS Loan program, which supplements Unsubsidized Direct Loans for graduate students, increased by 17% from $7.6 billion to $8.9 billion.