On track for $1 trillion: Student loan debt greater than credit card debt — from GOOD Education by Liz Dwyer


Last June, for the first time in history, Americans owed more on their student loans, a record $833 billion, than on their credit cards, $826.5 billion. The amount owed on student loans increases at a rate of about $2,853.88 per second, meaning we’re on track for total student debt to cross the $1 trillion mark sometime this year.

According to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org and Fastweb.com, this increasing student debt has long term, macroeconomic implications for our society. He told NPR’s Marketplace that the amount of money students owe—on average, $24,000—is usually repaid over a 20-year time frame, which means

more and more students are going to still be repaying their own student loans when their children enroll in college. That may make those families less willing to borrow to pay for their children’s educations. It also means that they aren’t going to be as capable of saving for their children’s education or even for their own retirement.

The other insidious consequence of the debt is that students are less likely to purse nonprofit careers or work they truly enjoy.