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Media New Research Finds Substantial Borrower Distress and a Growing Student Loan Crisis Across Cities in Texas

New Research Finds Substantial Borrower Distress and a Growing Student Loan Crisis Across Cities in Texas

As Millions Await Final Rules from the Biden Administration on Student Loan Relief, Student Borrower Protection Center Continues “Student Debt in the South” Research Series with a focus on Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio

May 30, 2024 | WASHINGTON, D.C. — Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) published new research today continuing its in-depth look at the burdens posed by student debt in cities across the South, with a particular focus on majority-Black and majority-Latino/a neighborhoods across three cities in Texas: Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

This groundbreaking report, Student Debt in the South: Texas, analyzes proprietary data from the University of California Consumer Credit Panel (UCCCP). It finds that student loan balances and rates of distress, including delinquency and runaway loan balances, remained persistently high in Texas throughout the 2010s until the federal student loan payment pause, with particularly high rates across communities of color in the Lone Star State.

SBPC also hosted a virtual event today at 1:00pm ET to share findings from the report and highlight organizing and advocacy work happening on the ground in Texas, featuring speakers from SBPC, Young Invincibles, and Texas Appleseed. 

“The student debt crisis is, at its core, a civil rights crisis. Today’s report adds to the growing canon of work that clearly demonstrates the financial strain that student debt causes and exacerbates, particularly in communities of color. The data from Texas echoes a national trend: student debt cancellation is essential to addressing the very real problems felt not just in the communities of Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, but across the country,” said Amy Czulada, Outreach & Advocacy Manager, Student Borrower Protection Center.

Today’s report builds on and is consistent with the previous report in SBPC’s Student Debt in the South series focusing on Atlanta, which found that debt balances and burdens have grown faster in majority-Black neighborhoods than in other neighborhoods across the city.

A copy of today’s report, Student Debt in the South: Texas Snapshot, is available here:

Key report findings include:


  • The number of student loan borrowers in the Dallas area increased significantly between 2011 and 2022, growing from approximately 800,000 total borrowers to over 1.1 million borrowers, and median student loan balances in Dallas nearly doubled.
  • From 2011 through 2017 rates of borrower distress for majority-Black zip codes in Dallas were greater than 40 percent, sometimes reaching upwards of 45 percent. 
  • Student loan borrowers in Dallas experienced a substantial increase in non-declining balances from 2011 to 2020. In 2011, the average balance of accounts with ballooning balances was $30,184, and that amount ballooned to $93,244 in 2020—more than tripling over that period of time. 


  • From 2010 to 2022, Houston experienced 36 percent growth in the number of student loan borrowers, from approximately 700,000 borrowers in 2010 to nearly 950,000 by 2022.
  • Average student loan balances in the Houston area mirror national trends, with significant increases in balances in the wake of the Great Recession through the early years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over that period, the total debt held by borrowers in Houston increased by 139 percent, accounting for an approximate increase of $14,000 in the average student loan borrower’s balance. 
  • Student loan borrowers in majority-Black communities saw the greatest increase in their average balances, growing nearly $17,000 on average. In majority-Latino/a neighborhoods the rate of growth was also significant, growing by 72 percent.


  • San Antonio experienced a 30 percent growth in student loan borrowers between 2010 and 2022, rising from nearly 300,000 total student loan borrowers to 400,000. Median balances over that period grew by 57 percent to more than $19,000. 
  • Delinquency rates in San Antonio have fallen since 2010. The percentage of borrowers with delinquencies peaked at nearly 10 percent in 2013 and 2015, and then dropped considerably at the start of the payment pause in 2020. 
  • Student loan borrowers in majority-Latino/a and majority-white neighborhoods across San Antonio experienced similar rates of growth for non-declining balances. Overall, the percentage of borrowers with balances under $10,000 decreased from 2011 to 2020 by more than 20 percent, and the percentage of student loan borrowers in those communities with more than $100,000 in student debt doubled over the same period.
  • The percent of San Antonio student loan borrowers with balances between $50,000 and $100,000 doubled from 7 percent to 14 percent. The percentage of borrowers with balances over $100,000 more than doubled as well.


About Student Borrower Protection Center

Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) is a nonprofit organization focused on eliminating the burden of student debt for millions of Americans. We engage in advocacy, policymaking, and litigation strategy to rein in industry abuses, protect borrowers’ rights, and advance racial and economic justice.

Learn more at or follow SBPC on Twitter @theSBPC.

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