Kentucky Student Loans: Debt Statistics

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In Kentucky, the average student loan balance for government and private borrowers is $ 30,794, which is 16% less than the US average of $ 36,689.

Overall, Kentucky’s 600,000 student loan borrowers are doing much better than those in any other state, with the twelfth smallest average balance in the country.

Let’s take a look at what you need to know about Kentucky government loans.

Kentucky Student Loans: Borrowers owe an average of $ 30,794 in government and personal debt – plus other facts

Overview of Student Debt in Kentucky
Average credit $ 30,794
Total outstanding debt $ 19.1 billion
Number of borrowers 0.6 million
Average total monthly payment $ 228
Note: The averages include government and private student loan debt.

One reason Kentucky borrowers might be on the lower end of the student loan debt spectrum is the state’s robust community college program. The Kentucky Community & Technical College System has 16 campuses across the state. Community college is an affordable option for students pursuing an associate degree or completing a general education course before moving to a four-year university.

If students choose to move to a four-year university, Kentucky has many public college offerings that can be less expensive than private universities. Options include:

  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • Kentucky State University
  • Morehead State University
  • Murray State University
  • Northern Kentucky University
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Louisville
  • Western Kentucky University

Student loan debt in Kentucky’s largest counties, from Fayette to Jefferson

Student Loans in Most Populous Kentucky Counties
district Average student loan balance Average monthly student loan payment
Fayette $ 38,840 $ 230
Jefferson $ 31,973 $ 221
Note: Restricted to counties with a population of at least 300,000 inhabitants; Averages include government and private student loan debt.

Student loan debt by zip code in Kentucky’s 2 largest cities: Louisville and Lexington

Loan Repayment Programs for Kentucky Residents

There are Kentucky-specific and national student loan allocation programs available for those seeking help with student loan repayment.

Kentucky State Loan Repayment Program

The Kentucky State Loan Repayment Program requires applicants to commit to two years of full-time basic care in an appropriate Kentucky location.

Participants can receive tax-free student loan repayments of various amounts:

  • $ 20,000: Registered Nurses (RNs), Registered Dental Hygienists (RDHs), and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Advisors
  • $ 40,000: Medical Assistants (PAs), Nurses Practitioners (NPs), Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), and Behavioral and Mental Health Specialists
  • $ 80,000: Doctors, dentists and pharmacists

Public Service Lending (PSLF)

Individuals who have worked full-time for the government or nonprofit for at least 10 years and have made 120 on-time monthly payments under an eligible repayment plan are eligible PSLF.

This is not a Kentucky-specific program, but applicants across the country who have received direct loans may qualify for forgiveness. Applicants must consolidate their debts into a direct consolidation loan in order to be eligible for PSLF.


Another national program that TEACHING grant offers $ 4,000 per year to students who agree to teach in a high-need area in a qualified, low-income school for four years. This program is different from other loan origination and cancellation programs in that it is run by specific colleges and universities.

You will need to contact your school’s tax office to see if they are participating and, if so, which courses are eligible.

Termination of the teacher loan

If an educator on Perkins government loans is teaching in a qualified, low-income school or in a specific subject, they may qualify for Termination of the teacher loan. This program allows the loan to be canceled up to 100%, with 15% being canceled in the first and second years of service, 20% in the third and fourth years of service, and 30% in the fifth year of service.

Teacher Loan Program

The federal Teacher Loan Award Program offers student loan repayment to teachers who have completed five consecutive full-time years in a qualified school or low-income educational institution. Recipients can receive a one-time award of between $ 5,000 and $ 17,500 that is used on their federal loans.

Kentucky student loan borrowers under the age of 25 owe less than the national average – and more comparisons

How To Refinance Kentucky Student Loans

Nearly 6% of borrowers in Kentucky owe $ 100,000 or more in student loans. To deal with such high student loan debt, refinancing might be a beneficial avenue for some.

If you refinance a student loan, take out a new loan – preferably at a lower interest rate. You can use both federal and private student loans to try to save money in order to pay off your loans faster. You also get added convenience by combining multiple loans and their monthly payments into a single loan with just one monthly payment.

This may sound like a win, but there are a few downsides to refinancing. When you have state student loans, you lose access to certain state protections that private lenders generally don’t offer, such as: Some private lenders offer various forbearance or deferment options, but these are likely to be different from those available at the federal level.

While there are plenty of statewide resources for those looking to refinance student loans, there are financial institutions in Kentucky that offer student loan refinancing if you want to keep things closer to home, including:

  • Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corp. (KHESLC)
  • University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union


  • U.S. Department of Education data as of June 30, 2020
  • Anonymized credit reports from My LendingTree June 2020
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel / Equifax as of June 2020

Since the latter data is from 2015, the researchers estimated the increase in student loan debt per borrower in the state using statewide data from anonymized credit reports.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 9 lenders of 2021!

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