For the first time last year, student loan debt actually outpaced credit card debt. It is estimated that student loan debt will top one trillion dollars this year.
The increase in student loan debt may be attributed to the larger number of students going to college and the higher percentage who are borrowing money to do so. For example, 2008 saw two-thirds of graduates with bachelor degrees finish college with debt, while less than half graduated with debt in 1993. In states that are struggling economically, tuition at public universities is expected to rise. Pell Grants offered to low-income students are also expected to suffer. Default rates on these loans are risings, particularly among students who attended for-profit colleges.
Student loans may have a strong influence on college graduates' choices after college, affecting decisions to buy a home, get married and start a family. Though many experts see a college education as a healthy investment and far more beneficial than acquiring credit card debt, it may last with graduates for decades into the future, even when they are trying to send their own children to college. The struggling economy in the U.S. may also have a negative impact on graduating students, affecting their ability to find employment. For those students who are unable to keep up with their student loan payments, the government may resort to wage garnishment or may hold back tax refunds of Social Security payments. Student loan debt is typically not able to be discharged through
On the other hand, a college education is likely to have a direct impact on one's ability to earn more money over their lifetime.
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