Tennessee Student Loan Debt and Financial Aid Statistics

Federal student loan debt statistics in Tennessee

  • Tennessee residents owe a total of $31.4 billion in student loan debts
  • This is the 15th largest total debt of all 50 states plus DC and Puerto Rico
  • And the average debt per borrower of $36,418 is the 18th largest average student debt per borrower in the country – $1,369 below the national average
  • A total of 862,200 people in Tennessee hold student debt making Tennessee the state with the 16th highest number of borrowers in the country. 
  • This is only 12.36% of the population of Tennessee – making Tennessee the state with the 34th most student loan borrowers per capita sandwiched between North Carolina and Texas.
  • Of these borrowers, 51.80% are under the age of 35 – the 28th highest in the country.

How much student loan debt does the average Tennessee resident have?

  • The average student debt in Tennessee is $36,418 – $1,369 below the national average of $37,721
  • This makes Tennessee the state with the 18th-largest average student loan debt 
  • Within this average, the amount owed by Tennessee residents varies greatly:
    • 15.80% of borrowers owe less than $5k
    • 21.40% of borrowers owe between $20k and $40k – the highest proportion of people that owe this much of any state
    • 2.00% of borrowers owe more than $200k

How much do Tennessee residents borrow each year?

  • 33.30% of Tennessee undergraduate students take out federal student loans – this is the 36th highest in the country
  • For those at 2-year colleges, 9.70% of students chose to take student loans – that’s 46th in the country
  • They were approved to get $5,949 per year on average
  • This is the 17th most per student at 2-year colleges of any state
  • More students at 4-year schools take out student loans – 48.40% receive student loans
  • This is 17th most out of the 50 states and DC. 
  • These students are awarded $7,223 per year on average – the 6th most in the country.

State-level financial aid for students in Tennessee 

  • Tennessee is the state that spends the 8th most state funds on financial aid for students
  • In total, Tennessee spends $454.3 million on state-level financial aid programs per year
  • This works out at around 0.41% of the gross state product (GSP)
  • While Tennessee has the nation’s 8th largest budget for student financial aid, it only ranks 28th as a percentage of GSP
  • This works out at around $2,252 per undergraduate student in the state – the 2nd most of any state in the country
  • Just over $110 million is distributed to students in the form of grants meaning that none of this amount is repaid. 
  • The remaining $344.3 is distributed between some other programs – some of which may be due to be repaid.