California Student Loan Debt and Financial Aid Statistics

California Student Loan Debt and Financial Aid Statistics

Federal student loan statistics in California

  • California is the state with the largest student loan debt in the country
  • This is ahead of Texas, Florida, and New York
  • California residents owe a total of $141.8 billion in student loan debts
  • However, the average debt per borrower of $37,084 
  • That is the 13th largest average student debt per borrower in the country
  • Meaning the main reason that California has the largest student loan debt in the country is the number of borrowers
    • California has the largest number of residents owing student loan debt at 3,823,700 people 
    • This is only 9.74% of the population of California – placing California in 48th position when it comes to the percentage of student loan borrowers per capita.
    • Of these borrowers, 51.7% are under the age of 35.

How much student loan debt does the average Californian have?

  • California has the 13th largest amount owed per student at $37,084
  • This is $703 below the national average of $37,721 and places Californians between Alabama and Oregon with the 12th and 14th largest average debt per borrower respectively
  • Within this average, the amount owed by Calfornians varies greatly:
    • 16% owe less than $5,000
    • 20.20% owe between $20,000 and $40,000 
    • 2.90% owe more than $200,000
  • California has the 3rd highest percentage of borrowers that owe more than $200,000

How much do Californians borrow each year?

  • Only 16.5% of Californian undergraduate students take out student loans
  • This makes California the state with the lowest percentage of undergraduates choosing to take or qualifying for federal student loans
  • For those at 2-year colleges, this number falls way down to 3.5% and is again the lowest number in the country
  • However, those at 2-year schools who are approved get $6,702 per year on average – the 4th most per student at 2-year colleges of any state
  • Significantly more students at 4-year schools receive student loans at 29.2%
  • This still ranks 45th place out of the 50 states and DC. 
  • These students are awarded $6,610 per year – the 38th most in the country.

State-level financial aid for students in California 

  • California is the state that spends the most state funds on financial aid for students
  • In total, California spends $2.23 billion on state-level financial aid programs per year
  • This works out at around 0.48% of the gross state product (GSP)
  • While California has the nation’s largest budget for student financial aid, it only ranks 15th as a percentage of GSP
  • This works out at around $1,751 per undergraduate student in the state – the 6th most of any state in the country
  • The entire $2.23 billion is distributed to students in the form of grants meaning that none of this amount is repaid