With all of its graduations, May seems like an especially good time to attack the question of student loans and student debt. Whether you have loans, are taking out loans or are just thinking about the effect of student loans on our economy as a whole, this series will give you an introduction to the highs, lows and in-betweens of paying for higher education. Once considered a private issue for students fortunate enough to go for a degree, student loans in the U.S. have grown into a massive industry. That means they are now everyone's problem. Don't believe me? This 2013 Report from American Student Assistance laid bare the trends we have all been seeing: student debt is causing some of our most promising grads to put off home and car purchases, delay starting families and shy away from entrepreneurship. With even professional degree students struggling to cover basic purchases on top of student debt payments, it's fair to say that these loans mean grads are now less active in parts of the economy they once helped sustain. What's more, the growing costs of education mean that the numbers are really adding up. In 2014, student loan debt surpassed the total credit card debt and auto loan debt held by U.S. families. The Federal Reserve's May 2015 Report calculates outstanding student loan at a frightening $1.355 trillion.
All of this is to say that even if you don't have student debt or intend to take out a loan in the future, this issue is already having a big effect on the marketplace you work and live in. Over the next two weeks, I will be posting on Student Loans from three angles:
- What do you consider if you are applying for student loans;
- What are you options if you have existing loans;
- What is the future of student loans;
And if you want to join into the discussion, email with your questions, anecdotes, ideas and other comments!