Question of the Day (Update): What was the average amount of student debt for 2019 college graduates?

Oct 13, 2020
Question of the Day, Student Loans, Paying for College

Answer: $28,950

Click for interactive map


  • Does the number “$28,950” seem like high average amount of debt? Why or why not? 
  • Given that the average new car loan is over $30,000, would you think of student debt differently from a car loan in terms of what you are receiving for the debt? 
  • Explain how and why you are concerned about student debt. What can you do to minimize your debt when you graduate? 

Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.

Behind the numbers (from TICAS Research):

New data show that the average student debt for college graduates continues to climb but at a slower pace. Nationally, about two in three (65 percent) college seniors who graduated from public and private nonprofit colleges in 2018 had student loan debt. These borrowers owed an average of $29,200, 2 percent higher than the 2017 average.


Played by over a million people, the game PAYBACK develops student decision-making skills required to get to and through college. 


 $50,000 available for student scholarships in the PAYBACK Challenge. Learn more here


The answer to this question may surprise a lot of folks: Question of the Day; Who struggles more with student debt: those with balances a) under $5,000 or b) over $40,000?



About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.