Student Loan Debt in the US: An Analysis of the 2015 NFCS Data

Document Type

Issue/Research Brief/Blog

Publication Date



higher education students, financial status and behavior


According to the study, 54 percent of student loan holders did not try to figure out what their monthly payments would be before taking out loans. And 53 percent said that if they could go back and redo the process of taking out loans, they would do things differently. The center used data from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation’s 2015 National Financial Capability Study (NFCS), one of the largest and most comprehensive assessments of financial capability in the country. In the 2015 wave, the study included key questions on student loan debt and its implications for the borrowers and for the economy as a whole. The study finds that Americans are clearly struggling with their student loan debt. Strikingly, we find that some 37 percent of respondents with payments due reported having been late with a student loan payment at least once in the last 12 months.