Student Loan Debt Exceeds Credit Card Debt

By
Michael Locklear

Dateline
Updated Tue, Nov 1, 2011 5:18 am

Paying for college is already expensive enough, but now students have another burden to worry about in addition to their classes and graduating.  

Student loan debt now exceeds total credit card debt in the United States, which means many graduates have created a monetary hole before they even have a job.

Deborah Thorne is an associate professor of sociology at Ohio University.

She says the problem is attributed, in part, to a bad economy.

"One is when the economy goes down, we have more people who return to college in hopes of bettering their employment opportunities. So, we have more people going back to college. But, the bigger factor is that we have tuition rates that are skyrocketing and incomes just aren't keeping up with those," says Thorne.

She says about 30 years ago, tuition was less than $200 per quarter.

Back then, the parents of current college students could work during the summer and cover the cost of their child's education.

But today, Thorne says some students are having to move back home because they can't find work.

A heavy student loan burden is causing other delays as well.

"Over the course of their lives, what's going to happen is that they will have to postpone having children because they have so much student loan debt. They will have to postpone purchasing homes. They will have to reduce the amount that they put into their retirement accounts and when their kids hit college, they have not been able to save money because they're paying off on their own student loans," says Thorne.

She says students with loan debt have about $25,000 on average.

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