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Student debt is on the rise

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Published on Dec 18, 2012

Check out the featured story which explores student debt in the United States. By using data and expert interviews, this video illustrates how the student lending market has grown to more than $1 trillion in outstanding debt and gives context to consumers considering taking on student loans.


Video Transcript:

Raj Date: Student debt is on the rise in the United States. In 2012, we calculated that outstanding student loan debt had topped 1 trillion dollars. That's more than Americans owe on their credit cards or their cars. Education is a major part of the American dream and many students in this country depend on student loans to finance their education.

LaShaun Warren: More and more people are going to school. In the past twenty years college enrollment has jumped from 13.8 million students to 21 million students. But tough economic times and rising costs have meant that more students than ever before are taking out loans to cover the cost of college.

Raj Date: So let's break this down. Student debt in the United States is made up mostly of student loans. The balance of federal loan debt is over $850 billion, while private lending makes up around $150 billion. In 2010, the average borrower at a private, non-profit school graduated with $28,100 in debt. Even for those going to public schools, those borrowers graduated with $22,000 in loans.

[PAUSE]

In some ways, it's pretty simple: The cost of college has grown faster than inflation. More people are borrowing, and they are borrowing more.

Iris Rivera: In the past ten years the cost of attendance at public colleges and universities is up 42 percent. For private not-for-profit, it's up 31 percent. These costs are trickling down to students.

When pursuing a college degree, students need to make informed decisions so they are not overwhelmed with debt in the end.

Tessie Wilson: Sometimes when students graduate with a huge amount of student debt they're not able to go out and live an independent life. They have car payments, they have rent, they have student loans, they have food to pay for, so often times they go home, they're boomerang kids, and live with their parents again.

LaShaun Warren: Every day, we hear from the people about their experiences with student lending. We've read thousands of stories. And we've noticed some recurring themes such as people being confused about the terms of their loan and how much they would actually have to pay.

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