Average student loan debt in America in 2023

A Credit Karma Study


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With the U.S. Supreme Court striking down President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, millions of borrowers won’t be getting the financial break they’d been hoping for.

Under Biden’s executive order, borrowers would have seen up to $20,000 of their loan balance cancelled.

Payments on student loans will restart in October after a three-year pause and borrowers will have to contend with the burden of education debt. About 43 million borrowers now hold more than $1.6 trillion in student loan debt.

In June 2023, U.S. Credit Karma members with a student loan collectively owed an average of $30,090.

Read on for more findings, including a breakdown of student loan debt by generation, state and more.

Average student loan debt by generation

Baby boomer and Generation X Credit Karma members hold the highest average student loan debt, while Generation Z has the least.

The average student loan debt carried by baby boomers and Gen Xers is nearly three times the average student loan debt carried by Gen Z borrowers.

GenerationAverage student loan debt
Baby boomer (born 1946–1964)$43,185
Generation X (born 1965–1980)$40,125
Silent generation (born 1928–1945)$36,579
Millennials (born 1981–1996)$29,141
Generation Z (born 1997–2012)$15,883
Among Credit Karma members with active student loans on their reports.

States with the highest and lowest average student loan debt

Credit Karma members living in the District of Columbia have the highest average student loan debt at $44,393, followed by Maryland ($36,504) and Georgia ($33,960).

Members in Utah have the lowest average debt at $25,592, with those in Wyoming ($25,663), Idaho ($25,877), Iowa ($25,969) and Oklahoma ($25,998) close behind.

StateCredit Karma members’ average student loan debtRank
Alabama$30,695  16
Alaska$27,006  37
Arizona $27,921  30
Arkansas$26,784  40
California$30,357  19
Colorado$29,492  22
Connecticut$32,493  7
Delaware$31,970  11
District of Columbia$44,393  1
Florida$30,604  17
Georgia$33,960  3
Hawaii$29,364  23
Idaho$25,877  49
Illinois$32,442  9
Indiana$27,146  35
Iowa$25,969  48
Kansas$27,441  33
Kentucky$26,200  44
Louisiana$28,323  28
Maine$28,188  29
Maryland$36,504  2
Massachusetts$32,387  10
Michigan$29,663  20
Minnesota$29,074  24
Mississippi$31,042  14
Missouri$29,556  21
Montana $26,172  45
Nebraska$26,926  38
Nevada$26,009  46
New Hampshire$31,620  13
New Jersey$33,631  4
New Mexico$26,460  42
New York$33,546  5
North Carolina$30,494  18
North Dakota$27,029  36
Ohio$28,856  26
Oklahoma$25,998  47
Oregon$28,645  27
Pennsylvania$31,899  12
Rhode Island$27,714  31
South Carolina$30,913  15
South Dakota$27,358  34
Tennessee$29,001  25
Texas$26,792  39
Utah$25,592  51
Vermont$32,485  8
Virginia$33,061  6
Washington$27,643  32
West Virginia$26,468  41
Wisconsin$26,460  43
Wyoming$25,663  50
Among Credit Karma members with active student loans on their reports.

Average student loan debt by credit score

Credit Karma members with higher VantageScore 3.0 credit scores tend to have higher average student loan debt. Those with scores of 781 to 850 have the highest average debt —$32,916 — while those with scores of 300 to 600 average $27,105 in student loan debt.

VantageScore 3.0 score bandAverage total student loan debtAverage of next loan paymentAvg. account age (in months)
Among Credit Karma members with active student loans on their reports.

Average student loan payment per month

The average next student loan payment for Credit Karma members is $44. The average next payment for baby boomers, who have an average debt of $43,185, is $87, while Gen X members, whose average total student loan debt isn’t too far behind at $40,125, have an average next payment of only $49.

Credit Karma members with student debt in the silent generation — who hold an average student loan debt of $36,579 — have the highest average next payment: $150. On the other end of the spectrum, Gen Z members have an average of $15,883 in total student loan debt and an average next payment of only $32.

Keep in mind that some of those who are holding education debt took out loans to help pay for their children’s or their grandchildren’s college tuition and are still paying them off. In the first quarter of 2023, 3.7 million Parent PLUS borrowers owed $107.6 billion, according to the National Student Loan Data System. And while grandparents are generally not eligible to take out Parent PLUS loans, they may be able to take out private student loans for their grandchildren.

Tips for managing student loan debt

If you’re facing economic hardship and may have trouble paying your loans, there are things you can do to find student loan debt relief. If most of your student loan debt is in federal loans, you tend to have a wider range of debt relief options.

Read on for some suggestions.

Income-driven loan repayment

Most federal student loans are eligible for one of the income-driven loan repayment plans, which may soon see some fundamental changes.

The four available plans adjust your monthly student loan payments based on your income and family size.

Proposed changes to these plans could cut some borrowers’ monthly payments in half while eliminating them altogether for others.

The Department of Education is proposing a rule to create a new income-driven repayment plan that would cap monthly payments for undergraduate loans at 5% of a person’s discretionary income instead of 10%. Borrowers with both undergraduate and graduate loans would pay a weighted average rate. Additionally, it would raise the amount of income that is considered non-discretionary.

The proposed rule would also forgive loan balances after 10 years of payments — instead of the current 20 years under many income-driven repayment plans — for borrowers with original loan balances of $12,000 or less.

Deferment or forbearance

Under certain circumstances, you may be able to defer your federal loans for up to three years. If you don’t qualify for deferment, you may be eligible for forbearance, which can postpone or reduce your payments for up to 12 months. Just keep in mind that with forbearance, interest continues to accrue while payments are paused. This means that your loan payments may be higher when forbearance ends.

Teacher loan forgiveness

If you’ve been a full-time teacher for five consecutive academic years in a low-income public elementary or secondary school or educational service agency, and you meet other qualifications, you may be eligible for teacher loan forgiveness of up to $17,500 on eligible federal student loans.

Learn more about the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program to see if you qualify.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

You may be eligible for loan forgiveness if you’re a full-time government employee or work for a qualifying nonprofit organization. If you qualify, you could get the remaining balance of your Direct Loans forgiven after making 120 qualifying payments.

To qualify, you must be employed by either government organizations at the federal, state, local or tribal level or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

If you’ve previously enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, you can still apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness to see whether your student loan debt can be forgiven in 10 years.

If you’re interested in learning more about PSLF and how it works, contact FedLoan Servicing at 855-265-4038.


To determine averages across student debt, we analyzed in aggregate the accounts of more than 28 million U.S. Credit Karma members with student loan debt whose accounts have been updated in the last 36 months as of June 7, 2023. All aggregate data analyzed was pulled on June 7, 2023, and came from members’ TransUnion credit reports. For the purposes of this analysis, student loan debt is defined as any unpaid balance existing on members’ open student loans in aggregate at the time the data was pulled. All numbers in this report were rounded to the nearest whole.

About the author: Brad Hanson is a senior editor at Credit Karma. His 30 years of experience in print and digital media includes work for the Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service, Trucks.com and Polyvore. Most recently before… Read more.