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The student loan debt crisis is quickly getting out of control and is threatening America’s economy. In fact, student loans are the fastest growing kind of debt in America.
Student loan debt has grown by 157% since 2007, Bloomberg estimates. Particularly, around 44 million Americans owe a combined $1.52 trillion in student loans, Knowledge@Wharton calculates. Furthermore, the average college graduate owes $37,000 in student loans.
Significantly, the amount of student loan debt exceeds America’s credit card and auto loan debt. Additionally, the amount of credit card debt for Americans shrank by 1.2% in the past decade, Bloomberg states.
The Student Loan Debt Crisis Is Worsening
The student loan debt crisis is worsening because more people than ever are borrowing for college.
The problem is that student loan debts are growing faster than salaries, financial planner John Hupalo notes. To explain, students borrow more to pay for college to get jobs that do not pay enough to repay the loans.
In addition, student loan borrowing costs are increasing. Both student loan interest rates and tuition costs are rising. Meanwhile, tuition rates at public and private colleges are at all-time highs.
“That double whammy doesn’t bode well for students paying off loans,” Hupalo notes.
College dropouts and graduates of for-profit colleges are driving up the rates, Hupalo explains. For-profit college graduates have a harder time finding work because many employers will not hire them.
Student Loan Debt Is Not Being Repaid
One in ten student loan debt holders is over 90 days behind on his or her loan payments.
Markedly, the student loan debt delinquency is several times higher than other kinds of debt. To illustrate, only 1.1% of auto loans and 4% of mortgages were over 90 days behind on payments.
Indeed, the delinquency rates for auto loans and mortgages have fallen every year since 2010. Yet, the student loan debt delinquency rate is at a near record high.
The highest student loan delinquency rate was 11.73% in 2011 and 2012, and today’s 10% rate nearly matches that level. Notably, student loan nonpayment today is almost as bad as it was after the 2008 financial crisis.
How Student Loan Debt Threatens The Economy
Student loan debt threatens the entire economy because debt-ridden graduates have less buying power.
For example, graduates paying student loan debt cannot afford mortgages and new cars. Economists think that student debt is preventing younger people from buying homes.
Moreover, around 16% of people aged 25 to 35 are still living at home, Bloomberg reveals. That number is up from 4% in 2007.
To demonstrate, the homeownership rate falls by 1.5% for every $1,000 in student loan debt, Knolwedge@Whartton reports. Therefore, the average college graduate with $37,000 in student loans is 55.5% less likely to buy a home.
“As people live with their parents, or cohabit with a non-partner, millions of houses and apartments aren’t being purchased,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell observes. “Neither is Wi-Fi or that extra sofa.”
“We think this is having a significant impact on the economy,” Powell admitted to Congress. Consequently, Powell thinks “student loan debt is crimping demand for goods and services.”
How Student Loan Debt Threatens The American Dream
In particular, Powell is afraid that student loan debt is holding back economic growth. Researchers have found that people with outstanding student loans are less likely to marry, have children, or go back to school for another degree.
Under these circumstances, student loan debt is clearly threatening the American dream. Student loans are destructive because you cannot write them off in bankruptcy. As a result, borrowers have to pay student loans off.
Student loan debt can also follow you into retirement. For instance, the Government Accountability Office estimates that the government garnished 3% of Social Security payments for student loan repayment in 2014.
In short, the American dream of college leading to a good job and a middle-class lifestyle is becoming a nightmare because of unpaid student loans.
You may also enjoy reading an additional Off The Grid News article: Bitcoins, Beer and the Student Loan Disaster
What do you think about the student loan situation and how it impacts America? Let us know in the comments below.