Many companies featured on Money advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research may determine where and how companies appear. Learn more about how we make money.

Published: Mar 23, 2022 6 min read
Collage of a college student in a graduation cap and gown holding up a diploma with a close-up of a dollar bill in the background
Money; Getty Images

Federal student loan payments are set to restart this spring, and how much the typical borrower still owes may be surprising: It's a little under $19,000, according to a new government report.

For more than two years now, student-loan borrowers with federal “Direct” loans — the most popular type of student loan — have enjoyed an automatic moratorium on loan payments. Meanwhile, the interest rates on those loans have remained at zero, all thanks to emergency legislation aimed at curbing the economic effects of the pandemic and five subsequent extensions to the student-debt relief portion.

Unless the program is extended for a sixth time — or federal student loan debt gets canceled somehow — that relief will end May 1.

“Nearly 37 million borrowers have not been required to make payments on their student loans since March 2020, resulting in an estimated $195 billion worth of waived payments through April 2022,” researchers for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York wrote in a report released Tuesday.

In the report, researchers broke up the amount of money that borrowers owe into three loan categories: