Mapping Your Future: Total outstanding loan balance increased. . . at least for now


Total outstanding loan balance increased. . . at least for now

By Catherine Mueller

September 22, 2022

The amount and status of student loans have changed somewhat since last year, but those changes may be somewhat minor compared to what may be seen in future reports.

In a September 21 Electronic Announcement, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) released new quarterly portfolio reports on its FSA Data Center website. The reports provide key data and other information about the federal student aid programs from June 30, 2022.

While these reports reflect the flexibilities applied to borrower accounts because of the COVID-19 pandemic, future reports may likely reveal changes in the portfolio due to the planned student loan forgiveness.

According to FSA, as of June 30, 2022, approximately 43 million unduplicated student loan recipients have about $1.62 trillion in outstanding loans. FSA said this represents “an increase of $26 billion in the outstanding loan balance since last year, and no change in the number of student loan recipients.”

Also, as a result of special COVID-19 flexibilities for federal student loans, the number of recipients in repayment status has fallen sharply over the last two years, according to FSA. More than 25 million Direct Loan (DL) recipients, with over $1 trillion in outstanding loans, are in forbearance status, and over 99% of these balances are in the special CARES Act forbearance. FSA reports that only about 430,000 recipients have opted out of the payment pause and thus were in an active repayment status as of June 30, 2022, compared to 18.1 million recipients in March 2020, shortly after the CARES Act became law.

The complete reports can be viewed in the FSA Data Center, which was launched in 2009 to increase government transparency.