These 180 Countries Have a GDP Lower Than the Total U.S. Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt in the United States has never been higher, currently sitting at a touch above $1.3 trillion. With the Spring semester about 5 weeks away, the nation is getting ready to add anywhere from $25-$45 billion to that total.


Countries in blue (and those too small to color) are included in the 180.

The staggering amount of debt held by current and former students is more than the total GDP of 180 countries.

In fact, it’s probably easier to list off the countries that are not eclipsed by student loan debt. These include: the U.S., China, Japan, Germany, U.K., France, India, Italy, Brazil, Canada and South Korea. If student loan debt keeps rising and its current rate, you can probably knock Canada and South Korea off the list by the Spring semester of 2018.

Former students default at about an 11% rate, which contributes significantly to the total, since interest continues to accumulate and the debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy except under very specific conditions.

The average cost of attendance continues to rise across the board, topping out at about $32,400 for private schools and around $9,400 for in-state public schools in 2015-16. This represents about a 3% rise from the 2014-15 school year.

Federal student loan debt is one of two types of debt (tax debt is the other) that will NOT fall off of your credit report after 7 years. Student loan accounts in default can affect your credit score for decades. Check Credit Sesame to see if any unknown negative accounts are on your credit report and see your current credit score.

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