Student Loan Debt by Degree Statistics

Student Loan Debt by Degree Statistics

Top student loan debt by degree statistics

  • From 2008 to 2018, the average debt at graduation increased by 21% for Bachelor’s degree recipients and 39% for Associate’s degree recipients
  • The average graduate’s student loan balance is 145.6% higher than the average student’s from the entire population
  • Across all advanced degrees, debt from graduate school alone averages $88,212
  • By the time they graduate, the average law school student owes $180,000 in total student loan debt
  • It is more expensive to attend a top 10 law school with students borrowing an additional $40,000 on average
  • Lawyers have reported as much as 75% of their disposable income goes towards repaying student loan debt
  • The average medical school graduate in the USA pays a total of $273,000 to pay off their student loans (including interest)
  • Academic counselors recommend applying to 4 or more schools – at a combined cost of more than $10,000 – to have the best chance of being accepted
  • The average graduate student debt is 145.6% higher than the average debt balance among all student borrowers

Average student loan debt by degree

Degree typeAvg. amount borrowed
Associate’s degree$14,000
Bachelor’s degree$34,100
Master’s degree$80,494
Law degree$118,100
Medical degree$250,990

Starting salary by degree type

  • Despite students needing to borrow more than twice as much to complete a master’s degree when compared to a bachelor’s degree, the average salary is $12,480 more
  • The average master’s student will recoup this difference in 3.72 years
  • A master’s degree holder is also less likely to be unemployed than a bachelor’s degree holder
DegreeSalaryUnemployment Rate
Doctoral degree$98,4362.5%
Professional degree$98,0203.1%
Master’s degree$80,3404.1%
Bachelor’s degree$67,8605.5%
Associate’s degree$48,7767.1%
High school diploma$40,6129.0%

Percentage of advanced degree holders who believe their degree was worth the cost

  • Ph.D. and doctoral degree holders are most likely to believe their degree was worth the price they paid for it out of all advanced degree holders
  • Less than 1 of every 4 law school graduates believes that their degree was worth the cost
  • Less than 50% of master’s students believe that their degree was worth the cost with MBA students the least satisfied at 42%
Degree type% satisfied
Medical degree58%
Master of science49%
Master of art45%
Master of business42%
Law degree23%