I’m doing my part, are you? Compared to credit card debt, it’s a small group of people who are deeply in hock. But a surprising number of college debt holders are past-due. The problem is very concentrated: while 80 percent of Americans have credit card debt, just 15 percent have student debt. The real figures may in fact be far larger than this – consider the number of parents who take out an additional mortgage to pay for college.
A new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York finds:
– student loan debt of $870 billion exceeds credit card ($693 billion) and auto ($730 billion) debt. Total outstanding student loan balances grew by 2 percent during the most recent quarter while other forms of debt remained flat;
– the debt will grow: more students are going to college and schools continue to raise prices;
– the average balance is about $23,300, with 40 percent of people under 30 paying off college loans. A small percentage — 3.1 percent — owe more than $100,000. I hope they are doctors;
– 27 percent — one in four! — of borrowers have past-due balances;
– federal and state governments are deeply involved in the complex world of student loans. The report concludes: “there is concern about having enough federal aid to support the large number of students taking up postsecondary education.”