14 Letter of Recommendation for Scholarship Samples With Tips
The college journey starts way before stepping foot on campus — mainly due to the staggering tuition rates.
Due to this, many students are turning to scholarships to fund their higher education and avoid diving headfirst into academic debt.
In addition to financial status and educational achievements, students are often advised to submit a scholarship recommendation letter that vouches for their eligibility.
Obviously, a well-written recommendation letter matters and can make all the difference. So, if one of your students or someone you know has asked you to craft a recommendation letter for a scholarship, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ll provide samples covering various circumstances that will kickstart your inspiration and give you some splendid ideas.
Now, without further delay — let’s jump in.
Table of Contents
Letter of recommendation for scholarship samples
A scholarship recommendation letter can go a long way in helping a student achieve their educational goals.
But, how do you go about writing one?
Of course, you should be honest and highlight the student’s positive qualities. However, before anything else, you should consider the type of scholarship they’re applying for.
After all, a letter of recommendation for a student applying to study Biology will be different from the one you’d write for a student looking to get into the Applied Arts program.
To give you a solid starting point and clear up any confusion, we’ll analyze 14 samples you can customize to suit your needs. These are:
- A general scholarship recommendation letter,
- A recommendation letter by a family member or friend,
- A Rhodes Scholarship recommendation letter,
- A Marshall Scholarship recommendation letter,
- A scholarship sample letter highlighting artistic capabilities,
- A leadership letter of recommendation,
- A recommendation letter sample by a school principal,
- A law school scholarship letter,
- A scholarship letter for studying abroad,
- A scholarship letter for financial aid,
- A recommendation letter for STEM students,
- A scholarship recommendation from a teacher,
- A scholarship recommendation from an employer, and
- An athletic scholarship letter from a coach.
Remember to tailor the templates so that they align with the scholarship applicant’s unique situation and capabilities.
#1 General scholarship recommendation letter
This type of letter focuses primarily on a person’s academic performance. The below sample may benefit teachers, mentors, advisors, and educators looking for a place to start.
“Dear Mr. John Walters,
I’m writing this letter to recommend Anna Jones for the Crown Lake scholarship.
I was her English teacher during the 11th grade and can vouch for her drive and commitment.
During her time in my classes, Anna showed an impressive thirst for knowledge, which — I have no doubt — will help her achieve academic excellence at a college level. As an educator, it is always an honor to teach such motivated students and aid them in discovering their full potential. I am proud to have been one of Anna’s teachers and believe that she would make an exemplary representative of Crown Lake University .
Anna’s receptiveness to feedback has allowed her to continuously surpass expectations, which is reflected in her grade point average.
Besides witnessing Anna’s academic achievements, I’m also impressed by her long-term educational goals and I believe this scholarship would greatly alleviate the financial strain she may face in their pursuit.
Thus, I wholeheartedly urge you to consider Miss Anna Jones for the scholarship, as I have met few students who would make more deserving candidates.
Feel free to reach out should you have any questions about Miss Jones or require additional information.
#2 Recommendation letter by a family member or friend
Family members and close friends can submit recommendation letters to give more insight into someone’s character.
However, personal recommendation letters can often veer into biased territory. So, take a look at our template to see how to balance enthusiasm and honesty.
“Dear Mrs. Jemima Lawson,
I am writing to formally recommend Naomi Sloan as a deserving candidate for the Lift & Inspire scholarship at Quinton University.
During the 15 years I’ve known Miss Sloan, I’ve been continuously impressed by her commitment to learning and desire to improve her community. Thus, I can think of no one else who could better represent your university as a recipient of this scholarship.
As her classmate and friend, I’ve had the privilege of watching Miss Sloan grow into an individual who values education and strives to uplift others so that everyone can become the best version of themselves.
The values behind this scholarship program are the ones I recognize in Miss Sloan, and I am sure she will prove herself to be a worthy scholarship recipient.
If you have any other questions or wish to gain more information, don’t hesitate to contact me. You can reach me at [Phone Number] or [Email Address].
#3 Rhodes Scholarship recommendation letter
The Rhodes Scholarship allows students from the US to pursue graduate studies at the University of Oxford.
Compelling recommendations for a Rhodes Scholarship underscore:
- Leadership potential,
- Concrete examples that indicate how the candidate will progress in their studies and future career, and
- Favorable characteristics without succumbing to implicit bias.
Here’s an example demonstrating how such a recommendation can look in practice.
“Dear Mr. Hugh Warrant,
I am happy to recommend Jennifer Song for the Rhodes Scholarship.
Although I’ve only had the pleasure of teaching her on 3 of my undergraduate courses, I’ve worked with her on several research projects directly tied to my department.
Most notably, I’ve witnessed the time and effort Miss Song has invested as the Vice President of the Student Council to optimize the college’s community work and impact. Moreover, she has gone to great lengths to involve more high schoolers in the annual Science Fair held on campus. As a result, more students have started inquiring about upcoming events, curious how they can help — all thanks to Miss Song’s extraordinary contributions.
With a grade point average of 4.0, Miss Song has demonstrated impressive dedication to her studies, but I am most in awe of her time management skills. Alongside respecting all coursework and tight deadlines, she has managed to publish 2 research papers in the college’s scientific journal and excelled at her part-time job.
Miss Song’s extracurricular activities [volunteering at relief shelters, organizing fundraisers, etc.] and interest in using her research to find optimal solutions to real-life problems are qualities that will undoubtedly make her an exemplary Rhodes scholar.
I could not be more enthusiastic about this recommendation and implore you to contact me regarding any additional information.
Dr. Andrea Jefferson”
#4 Marshall Scholarship recommendation letter
The Marshall Scholarship, another program that supports American students applying for a graduate degree in the UK, boasts strict eligibility criteria. Thus, your recommendation letter should focus on the candidate’s:
- Academic results and flexibility,
- Leadership capabilities, and
- Ability to represent both the US and the UK in the best possible light.
Given these requirements, a sample like the one below could help sway the minds of the selection committee.
“To the Marshall Scholarship Committee:
I am thrilled to recommend Mr. Tom Anderson, a senior in the Political Science program at Jordan Springs University for the prestigious Marshall Scholarship.
The PolSci program at our college encompasses various courses notorious for their workload, and many students choose to extend their time here by 1-2 years to meet all the requirements. However, that isn’t the case with Mr. Anderson. Besides staying on top of their studies, he has taken additional courses each semester, often exceeding the regular credit limit — a testament to his motivation and excellence.
His multidisciplinary strategy has produced several detailed research papers on the use of language in public spaces, focusing extensively on the impact rhetoric can have on marginalized communities.
Mr. Anderson’s calm and friendly demeanor has solidified his reputation as a reliable team player. Moreover, he’s always ready to use available resources to fund community-centered initiatives.
For instance, Mr. Anderson was the one who crafted the proposal letter for establishing the Alliance of International Students, a student-governed body seeking to amplify the voices of international scholars at our institution.
In conclusion, I’m happy to recommend Mr. Tom Anderson for the Marshall Scholarship. His academic excellence and leadership qualities make him an ideal candidate.
🎓 Pumble Pro Tip
Rhodes and Marshall scholars should also be well-versed in cross-cultural communication, as they’ll likely collaborate with people with diverse backgrounds. To learn more about the subject, check out the following blog posts:
#5 Scholarship sample letter highlighting artistic capabilities
Artistic pursuits can provide an excellent avenue to describe a person’s:
- Passion, and
- Work ethic.
Our scholarship recommendation letter sample will show you how to highlight skills you think are transferable to the candidate’s future career.
”Dear Mr. Jacob White,
I am Jason Green, the lead dance teacher and founder of Green Dance Academy, and I am writing this letter of recommendation in support of one of our most talented dancers, Michael Wu.
When Michael first entered my studio, he showed great promise. However, his determination and technical abilities have surpassed all of my expectations. Building on his natural talent, Michael came to each new class with renewed motivation and discipline, quickly mastering even the most demanding routines.
After dancing competitively for 7 years and securing high placement in several national-level championships, Michael became a dancing instructor at the studio. I’ve seen firsthand how selfless his teaching approach is. No matter how long it takes a student to master a routine, Michael will patiently go through the steps with them, encouraging them not to give up.
Despite his achievements, Michael is humble and takes any opportunity he can to learn from his peers.
He has made it his priority to give back as much as possible to the community, and his kindness and maturity make him a wonderful team player. I am grateful to have had the privilege of following along on Michael Wu’s journey and believe this scholarship will help him further hone his craft and pursue his dreams.
Green Dance Studio
#6 Leadership letter of recommendation
As you may have noticed, one of the main aspects a letter of recommendation for scholarships revolves around is leadership potential.
Consequently, many programs reward students who can inspire peers and advocate for relevant causes.
To see how to center your recommendation around leadership ability, you can check out the following template.
“Dear Selection Committee,
I am thrilled to recommend Brenda Hollis for the Grey Rock Scholarship.
As a Math teacher at Blue River High School, I’ve had the opportunity to work together with Miss Hollis on several programs and have been astonished by her diligence every time.
When I think of the word “leadership,” one of the first people who come to mind is Miss Hollis. For instance, she showed exemplary leadership potential when the school ran into trouble this past semester while organizing the Young Entrepreneurs Fair due to a lack of personnel.
Miss Hollis stepped up and recruited more students to ensure we could organize the event on time. Also, she reached out to a local community college, which agreed to collaborate with us in supporting young people with business aspirations.
Thanks to this agreement, the college will continue to form a committee of undergraduates every year who will assist our seniors in crafting compelling business plans. Without Miss Holliss, we couldn’t have hoped for such a fruitful outcome.
As Miss Hollis embodies a maturity and reliability rare in students of that age, I reiterate my recommendation for this scholarship. She has contributed immensely to our high school community and will undoubtedly continue to exceed expectations, regardless of the university she chooses to attend.
Blue River High School
🎓 Pumble Pro Tip
Leadership can take many forms, so different types of leaders exhibit different characteristics. To learn more about the most common leadership styles and see which types could work best for you, head to this in-depth blog post:
#7 Recommendation letter sample by a school principal
Given their influential positions, school principals are ideal candidates to craft a letter of recommendation for a scholarship.
Their recommendations hold a lot of weight since principals can provide insight into a candidate’s various capabilities. As a result, the following recommendation template emphasizes:
- Academic excellence,
- Leadership qualities, and
- Future goals.
“To Mrs. Greta Flower,
I am Jamie Lee, the principal of Dover City public school in Dover City. It is with great pleasure that I’m writing to recommend Miss Josephina Laine, one of our finest students, for the Rise Above Scholarship program at Dover University.
I have known Miss Laine for the past 7 years, ever since she enrolled in our school. Since her first day, she has consistently ranked in the top 1% of her class and sought ways to improve her academic performance.
Alongside her studies, Miss Laine has participated in numerous extracurricular events, with a pronounced interest in organizing charity and humanitarian events. In addition to her academic efforts, Miss Laine took part in several county-level sports competitions, where she represented the school with respect, pride, and dignity.
Given her spotless track record, I can confidently state that Josephina Laine will thrive at Dover University as a recipient of the Rise Above scholarship.
Should you have any other questions, I am available Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thank you for your time.
Dover City Public School
🎓 Pumble Pro Tip
Chances are that after writing many scholarship recommendation letters during your career, you might want to pen a retirement letter to inform your coworkers of your retirement plans. You can find several helpful examples and tips in this detailed blog post:
#8 Law school scholarship letter
For anyone planning on heading into law school, it’s a good idea to have a professor or supervisor write a reference letter for a scholarship.
Besides mentioning leadership skills, the letter should also discuss attributes that exemplify the candidate’s entrepreneurial mindset.
“Dear Mrs. Lara Dean,
My name is Oscar Reid, and I have worked alongside Emma Cohen at the Archival Department of Clear Mount Community College while she completed her internship. I’m writing to recommend Miss Cohen for the Legal Path Scholarship, as few people I’ve met have exhibited this level of integrity, dedication, and maturity.
Miss Cohen’s eagerness to learn and motivation often led me to believe I was working with someone well out of college. What’s more, her attention to detail was extraordinary — whether it was a minor correction or an intricate topic, Miss Cohen carefully inspected the issue to make sure she had a clear idea of each detail.
Besides these qualities, Miss Cohen possesses other skills that are essential for success in the field of law. She knows how to manage their time and workload effectively and has a systematic work approach necessary for such a demanding profession. Additionally, she is very articulate and has excellent editing and proofreading skills.
Not only is Miss Cohen a responsible and highly educated person, but she also has every quality necessary to thrive in law school.
Emma Cohen has proven she is a hard worker and critical thinker adept at tackling numerous problems. I am sure that this scholarship will help her reach greatness in her legal career.
If you have any other inquiries, you can contact me, and I’ll gladly provide more information about Miss Cohen.
Head of Archival Department
Clear Mount Community College”
#9 Scholarship letter for studying abroad
When writing a recommendation for a student wishing to study abroad, it’s essential to mention the qualities that will help them adapt to their new environment.
Take a look at the following sample recommendation letter to see which information to include.
“To the Aspire Scholarship Selection Committee:
I am writing this recommendation letter on behalf of Juan Soto, an International Relations student here at Anders University. He is among the most exceptional undergraduate students I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and I fully support his application for this scholarship.
As Mr. Soto’s supervisor for his final thesis, I’ve seen firsthand the time, effort, and dedication he pours into their work.
This past semester, Mr. Soto was among the handful of students who attended the Politics in Literature seminar. Although I assigned some complex reading material, he rose to the occasion and always came in with insightful questions, which sparked deep discussions in the group.
Moreover, he gladly volunteered to lead the conversations in a productive manner, which helped other students who were unsure how to approach the readings. What I’ve taken away from these meetings is that Mr. Soto has a firm grasp of his studies and has no problem breaking up complex theoretical frameworks into digestible units.
At this institution, he has demonstrated a keen interest in international studies. His published research papers delve deep into international relations and discourse and reflect his empathetic and analytical approach. The staff members at my department praise his calm demeanor and resilient nature, which have undoubtedly significantly contributed to his success at this school.
As one of our top students with an interest in political theory and international relations, Mr. Soto has my complete support in applying for this scholarship.
For any further questions, you can reach out to me via phone or email, and I’ll gladly provide more information.
Political Theory Professor
#10 Scholarship letter for financial aid
Financial needs can be a determining factor for a student’s eligibility for college, especially given the rising cost of higher education.
You can go over our sample recommendation letter to find out what details to mention regarding students hoping to secure financial aid.
“To the Wood College Scholarship Committee:
As Macey Grey’s 10th-grade English teacher, I wholeheartedly recommend her for the Wood college scholarship.
Despite a challenging start, Miss Grey is the first in her family to pursue college — an extraordinary achievement. This scholarship will significantly contribute to her educational aspirations.
In early classes, Miss Grey was initially reserved, which was a stark difference to the profound understanding demonstrated in written exams. Over time, she began participating, impressing peers with mature observations.
When faced with challenges, she stayed in the library, resolving issues and turning obstacles into growth opportunities — a quality admired by the teaching staff at Lincoln High School.
Apart from stellar academics, Miss Grey thrived in track and field at the national level, displaying resilience she also transferred to her studies.
In conclusion, Macey Grey is a remarkable student, consistently excelling inside and outside the classroom. I am confident she will exhibit the same level of intelligence and determination in her college journey. Feel free to contact me for further inquiries.
#11 Recommendation letter for STEM students
Students who want to pursue a career in STEM can apply to many programs to support their aspirations.
Given the competitiveness during the scholarship selection process, a recommendation letter from a science teacher can push the odds in their student’s favor.
Our scholarship recommendation letter example focuses on describing achievements in the 4 relevant fields:
- Engineering, and
“Dear Mr. George Thomas,
I am Alexis Barrett, and I’m writing to you to recommend Rowan Bray, one of my most accomplished students, for the Emerson College STEM scholarship. I am confident that Mr. Bray— if given a chance to attend Emerson College — would make the university proud.
I’ve been a Physics teacher at Rovina High School for 12 years. During this time, I’ve encountered many promising students, and Mr. Bray is definitely one of them.
He has a deep-rooted respect for and an impressive understanding of Physics, Mathematics, and Chemistry. His goal has always been to continue his education in one of these fields and positively contribute to science.
Moreover, Mr. Bray has achieved admirable results at the Rovina Math Championship, which, I believe, makes him an ideal candidate for this prestigious scholarship.
This scholarship would allow Mr. Bray to continue developing as a young scientist — a dream I hope he will achieve at Emerson College.
If you have any other questions, do reach out, and I’ll do my best to provide additional information.
Rovina High School
#12 Scholarship recommendation from a teacher
From checking homework to after-class tutoring, teachers spend a lot of time with their students.
So, they can provide an in-depth look into a student’s:
- Extracurricular activities, and
- Involvement with the community.
You can read our sample recommendation letter to see how you can package this information.
“To Mr. Joshua Hill,
I, Isabelle Gill, a Biology teacher at Cooper Hill High School, am writing this letter to recommend one of my top-performing students for the reputable Flint University scholarship.
Laura Lynch has my full support, and her academic achievements align perfectly with the aim of this prestigious scholarship program.
During my 15-year career as a Biology teacher, I have crossed paths with many bright students who have gone on to accomplish amazing things. Miss Lynch is — without a doubt — one of the most dedicated and ambitious students I’ve taught.
Not only has her grade point average consistently ranked in the top percentile of our school, but she has gone out of her way to broaden her knowledge by enrolling in various tutoring programs.
Thus, receiving this scholarship would greatly help Miss Lynch widen her understanding of Bilogy and Chemistry, and allow her to improve even further.
I hope you will consider Lauren Lynch for the award. I can think of few students who match her intelligence, responsibility, and maturity.
For any other inquiries, please contact me via email or phone.
Cooper Hill High School
#13 Scholarship recommendation from an employer
Besides teachers and supervisors, employers and managers can also write compelling scholarship recommendation letters.
To strike the right tone, it’s important to highlight the candidates’:
- Work ethic,
- Plans for the future, and
- Leadership traits.
Our recommendation sample touches on these points.
“Dear Mr. Brandon Leigh,
My name is Landon Harlowe, and I am a senior manager at Accounting Solutions. I am writing to recommend Lawrence Saunders, who was part of my team during his internship and subsequent employment at Accounting Solutions, for the Take Initiative Scholarship program.
During his time at Accounting Solutions, Mr. Saunders was a quick learner and very proactive. His suggestions led to the implementation of several practices that, to this day, optimize our day-to-day processes and procedures. Moreover, his contributions helped the team tackle many challenges while maintaining the desired standard of work.
Mr. Saunders used his time at the company to expand his knowledge, and I am sure he will continue in the same direction should he receive this scholarship.
If you want to learn more about Lawrence Saunders and why he’d be an excellent fit for this program, feel free to reach out.
🎓 Pumble Pro Tip
In addition to a student asking you to write a letter of recommendation for a scholarship, a coworker might implore you to craft a job recommendation for them. To make sure the recommendation lands how you want it, check out this comprehensive blog post:
#14 Athletic scholarship letter from a coach
Getting an athletic scholarship can sometimes be competitive, so having a recommendation letter from a coach can help level the playing field.
Like the following recommendation letter template, your letter should underscore the candidate’s sportsmanship and perseverance.
“Dear Mr. Matt Schofield,
As Brad Klein’s American football coach, I am delighted at the opportunity to craft this scholarship recommendation letter.
When Mr. Klein first joined the team, I was not sure how his athletic performance would progress. However, his unrelenting hard work and drive quickly proved to be unmatched.
After making the junior varsity roster, Mr. Klein zeroed in on making the starting team. This seemed unlikely to happen at the time — we already had a solid starting team. But, it wasn’t long until all of the coaches warmed up to Mr. Klein. After all, it’s not every day that you get a player who is so open to receiving constructive criticism and puts the team’s interest above all else.
What stands out about Mr. Klein is his honesty and discipline. He has achieved astonishing results both on and off the field, and his grade point average has never faltered, even during periods when we would increase the frequency of our training sessions.
Brad Klein is an admirable student looking forward to furthering his education. His work ethic and integrity will bring honor to any higher education institution he attends.
For more information about Mr. Klein, feel free to contact me.
PE Teacher & Coach
Baxter High School
How to write a scholarship recommendation letter
When writing a scholarship recommendation letter, remember to :
- Address the eligibility criteria and describe how the applicant meets them,
- Highlight the applicant’s positive qualities,
- Mention specific anecdotes to flesh out the applicant’s milestones, and
- Follow the program’s guidelines about the length and format of the letter.
But, even when you’re aware of the above pointers, you might still scratch your head when wondering how to write a letter of recommendation for a scholarship.
For this reason, our contributors have agreed to share their expertise and provide you with additional tips.
Tip #1: Avoid criticism but highlight growth
Getting accepted or rejected from college can have a long-term impact on a student’s future, so the recommendation letter shouldn’t focus on their weaknesses.
It’s much better to use the opportunity to highlight growth rather than shortcomings, advises Lynne Fuller, a college counselor and founder of College Flight Path:
“Share how someone has grown throughout a project, year, event, or experience. It is wise to mention how that development supported your efforts but also how incredible it was to witness the way it transformed the candidate. Remember to use action words that aptly describe the candidate’s efforts, like curiosity, dedication, foresight, and introspection.”
Broaching the candidate’s weaknesses is also a no-go for Josef Durand, an admissions counselor at Quad Education Group:
”The recommendee trusts you with their future, so why would you want to say anything negative about them?
Even a lukewarm recommendation letter can cost a student their dream school or program!”
Tip #2: Research what the program is looking for
Another thing you should do is tailor your letter so that its contents hit all the points the scholarship committee is looking for.
According to Eric Eng, a private college admissions consultant and founder of AdmissionSight, the recommendation should be a sincere endorsement that doesn’t go off-topic:
“Understand the student’s qualities, accomplishments, and aspirations that align with the scholarship. Tailor the letter to the specific scholarship, highlighting how the student can contribute to, and benefit from, the scholarship.”
Moreover, Dr. Natalie Morse, a PhD consultant and founder of For the Love of Grad, emphasizes that customizing the letter of recommendation has a significant impact on the selection committee’s final decision:
“If the writer can tailor the letter of recommendation to the specific scholarship and use keywords or attributes that that scholarship is looking for, that helps the committee know that they have found the right person.”
Most scholarship programs have a dedicated webpage outlining their requirements. So, you can research the criteria and see which examples to mention in your scholarship recommendation letter.
Tip #3: Be specific
To avoid sounding generic when praising a scholarship applicant, you should be specific about their impact and performance, shares Morse:
“If you want to write a really good letter of recommendation, you need to be effusive and quantify their impact.
For example: ‘This person was easily within the top 1% of students I have had in the last 20 years and went above and beyond to complete assignments and seek new knowledge.‘
The committees need to know that this person is outstanding and really worth investing in.”
In Eng’s opinion, being genuine and specific is crucial.
“Present concrete examples of the student’s accomplishments — it helps portray a vivid, credible picture of their capabilities.
Also, use a story or an incident to highlight the student’s character and achievements.
However, you should avoid clichés and generic praises — they could dilute the impact of your recommendation. Never exaggerate the student’s abilities or accomplishments, as it may come across as insincere or untrustworthy.”
Tip #4: Proofread the recommendation letter
Spelling mistakes can drastically downgrade an otherwise exceptional scholarship recommendation.
Although mishaps happen, a few errors that slip through the cracks can leave a negative impression on the selection committee.
Eng reiterates this sentiment, stressing the importance of accuracy in scholarship recommendation letters:
“Misspelling the student’s name or getting their details wrong is an absolute no-no — double-check everything for accuracy.”
To ensure all the details are in order, you could ask a colleague to take a look at the letter and provide feedback.
Beyond templates — keep all your documents and communication in one place with Pumble
When a current or past student asks a teacher for a scholarship recommendation letter, the task involves far more than simply putting pen to paper.
The teacher often has to email other colleagues and sift through paperwork to track student records and test scores.
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With Pumble — a team communication and collaboration platform — this is a non-issue.
Pumble can significantly enhance the education process, and teachers can set up dedicated channels for students’:
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Not only is the platform easy to use and highly customizable, but you can take advantage of voice and video calls to make sure you’re always on top of your workload.
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- (2023) Why college is getting more expensive | CNN business. Available at: https://www.cnn.com/2023/07/16/investing/curious-consumer-college-cost/index.html
- Brownstein, M. (2019) Implicit bias, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Available at: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/implicit-bias/
- Hahn, A. (2023) 2023 student loan debt statistics: Average student loan debt, Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/student-loans/average-student-loan-debt-statistics/