What Are The Most Popular Graduate Degrees?

Borrowers don’t make their federal student loan payments directly to the U.S. Department of Education. Instead, loan servicers act as go-betweens, handling a variety of important tasks including:

  • Billing
  • Processing and keeping track of payments
  • Helping borrowers change payment plans
  • Dealing with requests for deferment or forbearance
  • Certifying borrowers for loan forgiveness

Four servicers handle the majority of federal direct loans and Federal Family Education Loans. The largest of these is FedLoan Servicing (known as AES-PHEAA) , which controls 31% of the total. The others are Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation with 23%, Navient with 21%, and Nelnet with 17%. Multiple nonprofit servicers handle the remaining loans.

Federal Student Loan Status, by Servicer

The major loan servicers handle billions of dollars of loans on behalf of the federal government. The chart above shows the status of loans managed by each entity. The nonprofit servicers have the lowest rate of loans in repayment (49%) and the lowest rate of loans in forbearance (4%). Of the four biggest servicers, repayment and forbearance rates are as follows:

  • AES-PHEAA : 67% repayment, 13% forbearance
  • Great Lakes : 60% repayment, 11% forbearance
  • Nelnet : 61% repayment, 8% forbearance
  • Navient : 65% repayment, 12% forbearance

Higher education has long been considered the ticket to vehicle title loan Washington state affluence and job satisfaction. The earnings premium for degree holders has grown steadily over the past several decades, and college graduates are more likely to become homeowners, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York . Among all Americans aged 25 and older , 58.9% have spent at least some time in college, and about 32.5% have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher. Younger Americans are more likely to prioritize going to college than previous generations. Among people aged 65 and older – part of the baby boomer and silent generations – 50% have spent some time in college , and 27% have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Among those aged 25 to 34 – who would be considered millennials – 65% have spent some time in college , and 36% have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Which Are the Most-Educated States?

Levels of educational attainment vary widely across the country. The states with the most bachelor’s degree recipients age 25 or older are Massachusetts (41.2%) , Maryland (38.4%), Colorado (38.7%), and Connecticut (38.0%). The states with the fewest bachelor’s degree holders are West Virginia (19.6%), Mississippi (21.0%), Arkansas (21.5%), and Kentucky (22.7%).

Surprising Facts About Graduate Degree Seekers

It’s expensive, but Americans are still pursuing graduate and professional degrees – and the majority are doing so as full-time students. Of the 1.84 million students enrolled in public or private not-for-profit graduate programs in fall 2016, 57.4% were registered full time . Graduate students are also now more likely to be women than men.

Although law and medicine draw many young people to graduate school , aspiring doctors make up just 5% of grad students and potential lawyers another 4%. Among master’s programs, the most sought-after degrees are science (18%), education (16%), and business administration (11%). About a quarter of graduate students are aiming for a doctorate, with 23% trying to earn a Ph.D.

Which Graduate Degrees Are Students Borrowing the Most For?

Of all graduate degrees, a medical degree takes longest to earn and costs the most . Doctors emerge from their training with an average debt load of $161,772. Lawyers follow with $140,616 worth of student loans, and educators rack up an average of $50,879 in outstanding loans. Of all degree seekers, the least indebted after graduation tend to be those earning MBAs, with an average student loan debt of $42,000.