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Student Debt

The Student Debt metrics are designed to capture both the amount that student debt borrowers accrue during their postsecondary undergraduate education as well as their ability to repay this debt over time. To that end, two separate metrics were developed:

  • Metric one, median debt at graduation or withdrawal, tracks the median cumulative amount of federal loans borrowed by undergraduate, measured either at their point of graduation or withdrawal from the institution.
  • Metric two, three-year repayment rates, tracks the percentage of a system’s borrowers who are making progress, or whose loans are discharged or fully paid, three years after entering repayment.


The median levels of student debt and repayment rates averaged across NASH member systems is:

Median Debt Percent Making Progress
in Repayment at 3 Years
Student Type
$19,134 44% Completers (c)
$8,171 27% Non-completers (nc)
$13,786 48% Pell recipients (c and nc)
$12,544 29% Non-Pell recipients (c and nc)


By 2030 we propose that NASH member systems collectively decrease the median debt borrowed by Pell students (completers and non-completers), by 25% from 2020-21 baseline levels. In addition, we propose that the equity gap in three-year repayment rates between Pell recipients and non-Pell recipients should be reduced by 50% from 2019-20 baseline levels (19 points).

Collectively, achieving this goal in conjunction with the other NASH targets would result in an estimated $7 billion reduction in borrowing by low-income students by 2030.