U.S. Citizens Now Hold About $1.3 Trillion in Student Loan Debt

The New York Fed’s second quarter numbers are out for 2016 and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for student loan debt. Officially, the nation owes $1.26 trillion in student loan debt. Realistically, we are probably over the $1.3 trillion mark when taking into account the fact that the Fall semester has just started and many Spring graduates are still in the grace period.

Just one year ago, student loan debt was at $1.19 trillion. About $70 billion worth of student loans have been added in the last 365 days.

Student loan debt has been the largest sector of non-mortgage debt since March 2010 and it seems to be growing at what might be an untenable pace. At the beginning of 2004, the nation owed about $260 billion in student loan debt and default rates were relatively low.

In the past 12 years, we have added a trillion dollars to that amount and gained about 4% in the overall college graduation rate. While an educated populous is a good thing, the number of those not making payments on their student loan debt as soared. Approximately 40% of those who owe money on student loan debts are not making any payments on them at all, either from defaults, forbearance, deferment, or being delinquent.

Some analysts have predicted that student loans are the next bubble ready to pop, much like the (albeit much larger) housing bubble in 2008. What has many people on the fence is the fact that you can get rid of a home loan in bankruptcy proceedings, but your student loans are likely stuck with you except in extreme cases. This could just about force borrowers to repay the loans either now or far into the future.

Student loans also show up on credit reports which can be very good if payments are being made on time, but it can devastate a borrower’s credit score after just one delinquency. In addition, federal student loans are going to stick on a credit report for years past the standard 7 year reporting statute of limitations. You can get a free copy of your credit score and report from Credit Sesame to make sure everything regarding your student loans and the rest of your credit report looks correct, since 1 in 4 people have some type of error on their credit report.

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