Student Loans Will Top $1 Trillion
The rapidly growing cost of obtaining a college degree is taking a financial toll on young Americans, who took out more than $100 billion in student loans last year—a record number.
In total, the amount of unpaid student loans in the United States will likely top $1 trillion this year—another record—according to new Federal Reserve Bank of New York data published today by USA Today.
Large borrowing amounts and a high default rate on student loans creates a nation of young victims who are burdened with tens of thousands of dollars in debt and often unable to secure employment in their field, according to a recent Campus Progress report.
Excessive student loan debt has been one of the main topics at play in Occupy movements across the country, including on Wall Street, with media calling it “one of the more compelling issues to emerge.” At more than 150 colleges, students walked out of classes or protested against extreme higher-education costs in recent weeks.
Many of the user-generated posts on the We Are The 99 Percent’s website address student loans.
While remaining a key issue, student lending hasn’t gained a huge amount of attention during the movement. Perhaps the latest data is the impetus protestors need.
“I have lots of friends who have graduated who are still cashiers,” Bernardino Villasenor, a student at University of Texas in Austin, told NPR for a piece on the Occupy Colleges movement. “They’re baristas. They’re working in the service industry. And like you need two or three jobs if you want to pay off the massive student debt that we get here.”
As tuition continues to outpace inflation, it’s also vital that elected officials work to maintain funding for the Pell Grant and other aid programs.
Students at for-profit universities are most likely to default on loans, according to the Department of Education, with one in six student borrowers failing to repay.
“I’m $31,000 in debt from my education, and the average yearly salary where I live is $19,000,” says one poster on the We Are the 99 Percent website. “Household is $31,000. I would gladly pay double my taxes to not have the stress of mounting educational and medical bills for the rest of my adult life.”
Brian Stewart is the communications manager at Campus Progress.
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