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A visual timeline of student loans

A Visual Timeline of Student Loans: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Headed

More Americans than ever are taking out student loans to invest in their futures. And that’s leading to…a huge amount of debt across the nation. $1.3 trillion in fact. This year alone, college grads who have their bachelor’s degrees face an average of $37,000 in student debt. And, as of July, over seven million borrowers are in default.

So how to solve it all? Let’s start at the beginning. Scroll through the visual timeline below to see the highlights and lowlights of the past 80 years in student loan history.

Rest assured, there is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel (er…timeline).

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How and When to Combine Federal Student Loans & Private Loans

Got student loans? We’ve got you covered with our Student Loan Smarts blog series. Our expert tips and hacks will help you save money, pay off loans sooner and stress less about student loan debt. Read the other posts in the series here—and get all the info you need to make intelligent decisions about your student loans. And while you’re at it, check out SoFi’s new Student Loan Debt Navigator tool to assess your student loan repayment options.

One of the biggest student loan myths out there is that borrowers can’t consolidate federal student loans and private student loans into one loan.  It’s understandable why people think that, since this wasn’t an option for many years.  But now that the choice is available, it’s important to understand whether federal and private loan consolidation is right for you – especially when there’s the potential for significant cost savings on the line.

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