Student loan balances have increased nearly 150% in last decade
Student loan debt has hit $1.4 trillion nationally, and there aren’t many positive signs that it will decrease anytime soon.
Over the last 10 years, student loan balances in the United States have increased more than $833 billion — a jump of nearly 150 percent, CNBC reports.
Record student debt for borrowers
The average student loan borrower’s balance is now a record $34,144, which represents an increase of 62 percent over the past decade.A separate report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has also found that the percentage of student loan borrowers who owe $50,000 or more has tripled over the same time period.
And about 13 percent of the country’s population carries at least one student loan, Experian reports. The average number of loans is 3.7 per person, up from 2.4 per person 10 years ago.All of these startling statistics highlight the impact of the large increases in the cost of college, including tuition, room and board and fees over the past decade.
According to the article, a college education is now the second-largest expense an individual is likely to make in a lifetime, besides purchasing a home.
College worth the cost — but not at any cost
Still, college is worth the investment. You just have to be careful about not putting yourself deeply into debt, particularly if you plan on entering a low-paying field.
As Rod Griffin, director of public education at Experian, puts it,
In most cases, higher education is worth the investment because student loans pay off in the form of higher income over time. However, it’s especially important for young people to understand the terms of their loans.
Unfortunately, the majority of students who borrow money for college don’t fully understand the terms or amounts of their loans or how student debt will affect them down the road.
That’s why it’s crucial to evaluate return on investment when making the decision where to attend college and how to pay for it.