Delaware federal and private student loan borrowers have an average balance of $36,243, just 1% below the national average of $36,689.
Borrowers looking to pay off their Delaware student loans have various opportunities — including 12 state-sponsored financial aid programs — to lower their student debt burden. Here’s what Delaware residents should know about their student loans.
Delaware student loans: Borrowers owe average of $36,243 in federal, private debt
About 100,000 Delaware borrowers owe an average of $36,243 between federal and private student loan debt. These borrowers owe an average monthly payment of $295.
While average student loan debt in Delaware falls close to the national average, residents still owe more than some of their neighbors, including New Jersey ($33,563) and Pennsylvania ($33,426).
View this graphic to see average federal and private student loan debt amounts across the U.S.:
Student loan debt in Delaware’s largest county: New Castle
3 things to know about going to college in Delaware
Even though Delaware is the second smallest state in the U.S. — taking up about 1,950 square miles — the tiny state packs a real higher education punch. Take a closer look at the education opportunities awaiting students in Delaware.
- 12 state-sponsored financial aid programs: The state administers various financial aid programs, from grants to scholarships to professional incentive programs. To qualify for these opportunities, applicants must send their records to the Delaware Higher Education Office by the posted deadline.
- 3 public schools: Students who want to attend a public school in the state can consider the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware State University in Dover and Delaware Technical Community College, which has campuses in Dover, Georgetown, Stanton and Wilmington.
- 5 private institutions: The state has a similar number of private colleges, including Delaware College of Art and Design, Goldey-Beacom College and Widener University Delaware Law School in Wilmington, Wesley College in Dover and Wilmington University in New Castle.
Loan repayment programs for Delaware residents
Student loan forgiveness and repayment programs can be helpful for borrowers who want to pay down their debt quicker or save money on their education. Borrowers in Delaware have multiple options, including programs designed to help students pay for school while they’re still attending.
Christa McAuliffe Teacher Incentive Program
Full-time resident students enrolled in an undergraduate program leading to teaching certification may qualify for the Christa McAuliffe Teacher Incentive Program. Recipients, who receive $5,000 a year (though it cannot exceed the cost of tuition or other fees and expenses), must work for a year in a state public school to have one year of the award forgiven. Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 can seek to renew their award for up to three additional years.
Delaware Nursing Incentive Program
The Delaware Nursing Incentive Program assists full-time students enrolled in an accredited program who are working toward certification as a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. Similar to the teacher incentive program, the award is $5,000 a year (and, as well, cannot exceed the cost of tuition or other fees and expenses), which is forgiven after the recipient works for a year at a state-owned hospital or clinic or a nonprofit hospital in Delaware. The award is renewable for up to three additional years if the student maintains a cumulative 2.75 GPA.
Delaware State Loan Repayment Program
The Delaware State Loan Repayment Program provides health care professionals that practice in rural or urban settings designated as health professional shortage areas (HPSAs) with awards ranging from $30,000 to $100,000. To qualify, applicants must work as dental, behavioral/mental health or primary care professionals for at least two consecutive years.
Delaware Teacher Corps
The Delaware Teacher Corps requires recipients to be enrolled at a Delaware college in an undergraduate or graduate program in a critical-need area.
The award — not to exceed the cost of tuition or other fees and expenses — requires the recipient to teach in a state public school for each year the award is forgiven. It’s renewable up to an additional three years for applicants who maintain a 2.75 cumulative GPA.
See the award page for the full list of qualifying teacher shortage areas in the state.
Delaware federal student loan borrowers younger than 25 owe more than national average — plus a look at payment status
How to refinance Delaware student loans
With more than 8% of borrowers in Delaware owing more than $100,000 in federal student loans, refinancing may appeal to those looking to save money on interest and pay down their debt faster.
Refinancing your student loans involves taking out a new loan to pay off the original one. This new loan will ideally come with a lower interest rate, making it easier to pay down the debt. If a borrower has multiple student loans, they can refinance all their loans into one, streamlining their monthly payments to make the process more manageable.
But even though there are some major benefits associated with refinancing, there are also some downsides, too. The primary downside is that when you refinance a federal student loan, it becomes private and you lose access to valuable federal protections such as income-driven repayment options, loan forgiveness, and deferment and forbearance. And while certain private lenders do offer forbearance and deferment options, these typically differ from what is available federally.
- U.S. Department of Education data as of June 30, 2020
- Anonymized My LendingTree June 2020 credit reports
- Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax as of June 2020
Because the latter data is from 2015, researchers estimated the increase in student loan debt per borrower in the state using statewide data from anonymized credit reports.
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