A new federal analysis reveals that millions of Americans are in default on Federal Direct Loans, but Minnesotans have a better track record than the national average.
"I manage my student loans on a few different sites," says Jeff Huth, director of The Blizzard Foundation. "This one site, the total loan balance is $35,858.81."
Huth says he has made only one payment of $400 since graduating in 2013 and because of certain criteria, he's been given options to defer his monthly payments.
"Now my minimum payment is $0, but what I am seeing is the interest is just adding up," says Huth, who hasn't defaulted on any of his loans.
New data released by the U.S. Department of Education shows more than 1.1 million Americans defaulted on student loans for the first time in 2016. Default is when someone goes 270 days without making a payment and hasn't made any payment arrangements.
"We're the ninth-lowest in the amount of defaults we have," says Larry Pogemiller, commissioner of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. "So people tend to pay back their debt in Minnesota. ... Our rate is about 8.8 percent default, and the national average is closer to 12 percent."
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average amount owed is about $31,000 per borrower, up 17 percent since 2013.