Headlines are proclaiming this week that student-loan debt is rapidly nearing a trillion dollars. Earlier this year, as financial expert Mark Kantrowitz has noted, another landmark was achieved: Student borrowing now exceeds all credit-card debt. While the data here are somewhat murky and questionable, under any accounting they add up to big bucks.
There are three worrisome trends. First, student debt is doubling every seven years or so, growing much faster than credit-card balances, home-mortgage obligations, or commercial loans. At some point, this will become unsustainable as debt burdens overwhelm borrowers’ ability to repay (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) — particularly when incomes are growing only very slowly, if at all.
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