I recently came across an article listing fifteen shocking facts about student loans in the United States. You can access the article by clicking here, but fair warning that it is one of those pictorial lists that have taken over the interwebs these days. I will not copy the entire list, but here are the highlights (or “lowlights”):
- 40 million people owe $1.2 trillion in student loan debt. 7 million of those borrowers are in default.
- 70% of students graduate from college with loans, with an average debt of $24,301.
- The crisis is getting worse, as student loan debt is rising by $110 billion per year.
- The U.S. government provides 90% of student loans, and made $50 billion in 2013 ($5 billion more than ExxonMobil).
- Defaulting on student loans can harm your chances for employment, especially in certain government jobs. In some states, it can mean losing professional or drivers licenses.
- It is estimated that the automobile industry is losing $6 billion a year because graduates are not purchasing cars, and many believe the debt level is harming home sales.
There is no doubt that the educational debt level is a serious problem for this country. It not only affects the students and graduates, but their families as well. The blame can be spread around to everyone, as many student and families would be well served to not borrow as much and the lenders (including the U.S. Government) should not be willing to hand out loans to anyone and everyone who is in school. Allowing a discharge of the current debt, thereby passing the debt to all taxpayers, certainly would not be a viable option but certainly can be considered for future loans. Discharge of student loans or other educational obligations is difficult in Bankruptcy cases. However, if the borrower’s overall debt is crippling, Bankruptcy may be the only good option for freeing up more funds to pay off the student loans. If you are in this situation, make an appointment with a good Bankruptcy lawyer in your area. It only costs an hour or two of your time.