Monday, December 3, 2012

Student Loan Debt Burdens Recent College Grads

Student lending has risen to new heights over the past few years, fueled by greater access to student loans, increasing tuition costs, and higher enrollment.

The Wall Street Journal reports that total student debt has grown over 56 percent since the end of 2007, adjusted for inflation, and totaled $956 billion in the third quarter of 2012. Over 90 percent of student loans are now made by the federal government, which marks a departure from previous years, when the feds guaranteed most privately-held student loans. In 2010, Congress approved direct lending by the federal government, thereby expanding access to higher education. About one-tenth of student loan balances were overdue by 90 days or more in September. That's probably an understatement of the actual number since current students, the unemployed, and other eligible borrowers may postpone payments. See the full article for more details.

The Oregonian covers this story here at home, discussing the burden of student loan debt on recent college graduates. Among all states, Oregon has the 21st highest average student loan debt, and 23rd highest default rate. The state's 2011 grads had an average loan debt of $25,500, nearly one-third higher than the class of 2007. As state revenues allotted to public universities have dropped over the years, schools have relied more heavily on tuition. The share of the Oregon University System's (OUS) funding sourced from tuition and fees grew by 11 percent between 2009 and 2011. Likewise, OUS enrollment jumped during the recession, climbing 14 percent higher between 2004 and 2009. That student growth rate was no match for the rise in OUS student debt, which grew 3.5 times faster over that period. The full story has more details on loan debt for Oregon's higher education students.

1 comment:

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