Student debt is a form of debt that is owed by an attending, withdrawn or graduated student to a lending institution. The lending is often of a student loan, but debts may be owed to the school if the student has dropped classes and withdrawn from the school. Withdrawing from a school, especially if a low- or no-income student has withdrawn with a failing grade, could deprive the student of the ability of further attendance by disqualifying the student of necessary financial aid). Student loans also differ in many countries in the strict laws regulating renegotiating and bankruptcy. Due payments may be a retroactive penalty for services rendered by the school to the individual, including room and board.
As with most other types of debt, student debt may be considered defaulted after a given period of non-response to requests by the school and/or the lender for information, payment or negotiation. At that point, the debt is turned over to a Student Loan Guarantor or a collection agency.
Many factors are accountable for the drastic increase of student debt. The growing problem of student debt has become more prominent in the past decade, inspiring numerous documentaries that examine the causes and effects. The Fallen American Dream, is a documentary on America’s challenges with college affordability and its declining job market during a time of national crisis and global change. One factor is due to the new guidelines developed by the federal government. There are now new rules deciding who can borrow, as well as how much debt they can take on. Colleges and universities have been increasing the costs for students to attend their respective schools subsequently increasing the amount of debt these students take on as student loans. Reports have shown that borrowers who finished college in the early 1990s were able to maintain managing their student loans without an enormous burden. The average debt has increased 58% since over the past seven years. It has risen from $17,233 in 2005 to $27,253 in the United States. Some blame the economy for the debt increases, but in the same 7 year period credit card debt and auto debt have decreased. According to the Student Debt Crisis, within the past three decades the cost of attaining a college degree has drastically increased by more than 1,000 percent. If student debt had stayed constant with inflation since 1992, graduates would not be facing such burdens by student loans.
"With $864 billion in federal loans and $150 billion in private loans, student debt in America now exceeds $1 trillion."
There are around 37 million student loan borrowers with outstanding student loans today. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, outstanding student loan debt in the United States lies between $902 Billion and $1 Trillion with around $864 Billion in Federal student loan debt. As of Quarter 1 in 2012, the average student loan balance for all age groups is $24,301. About one-quarter of borrowers owe more than $28,000; 10% of borrowers owe more than $54,000; 3% owe more than $100,000; and less than 1%, or 167,000 people, owe more than $200,000. Of the 37 million borrowers who have outstanding student loan balances, 14%, or about 5.4 million borrowers, have at least one past due student loan account. It is also interesting to note that for every student loan borrower who defaults, at least two more borrowers become delinquent without default. In 2010 for the first time ever, student loan debt exceeded credit card debt and in 2011 student debt surpassed auto loans. According to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org, student loan debt is growing by $3,000 per second.
Canadians have been experiencing the rapid accumulation of student loans as well. As of September 2012, the average debt for a Canadian leaving college was $28,000, and that accumulated debt takes an average of 14 years to fully repay. As a nation, Canadians have accumulated more than $15 Billion dollars of student loan debt, while Canadians continue to fight to protect their tuition rates from further skyrocketing.
The growing problem of student debt has caused many reactions from young people throughout the United States. As a result, the Occupy Colleges and Occupy Student Debt movements merged in 2012 in an effort to gain support from students around the country. There have been significant efforts made via social media for the Occupy Student Debt campaign. In particular, students all over the United States have posted their personal student debt testimonies. Since last October, Occupy Student Debt has provided a platform for over 800 students to share their horror stories. Because of this, other organizations such as, Rebuild the Dream, Education Trust, and the Young Invincibles, have joined in the effort and started similar platforms. The Occupy College movement itself has staged over 10 direct actions. They have also gathered over 31,000 signatures on the White House’s petition site, “We the People”. As a result, President Obama announced the Pay as you Earn initiative. Another petition, titled 'Support the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012' on MoveOn.org, which seeks similar relief for student borrowers, has gotten over one million signatures. HR 4170: “The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012” would give relief to borrowers with both federal and private student loans. HR 4170 also includes the “10-10” programs, which allows borrowers to pay 10% of their discretionary income for ten years with the remaining balance forgiven afterwards.
- College admissions in the United States
- College tuition in the United States
- Free education
- Higher education bubble
- Higher Education Price Index
- Post-secondary education
- Private university
- Student benefit
- Student loan
- Student loans in the United States
- Tuition agency
- Tuition center
- Tuition fees
- Tuition freeze
- "Aging With Student Debt" Well-known Student Loan Advocacy site
- "Forgive Student Loan Debt" Well-known Student Loan Advocacy site
- "Occupy Student Debt" Students' reactions: Accounts of debtor stories
- "Project On Student Debt" at the Institute for College Access & Success
- "Student Loan Ranger" at Equal Justice Works
- "Student Loan Ranger" at U.S. News
- "Student Loan Justice" Well-known Student Loan Advocacy site
- "Thirst For Justice" Higher-Ed Tuition Costs (A well-sourced advocacy Position Paper)
- "The Law School Tuition Bubble" (Research & commentary on the Law School Tuition Bubble)
- "U.S. PIRG" Public Interest Research Group
- U.S. Department of Education Federal Government program, whose states mission in "About ED" section is "to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access."
- Touryalai, Halah. "Student Loan Increase". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
- "Student Loan Debt Statistics". American Student Assistance. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- "Student Loans: Debt for Life". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
- "Student debt: Average payback takes 14 years". Financial Post. Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Canadian Federation of Students". Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- Abrams, Natalia. "Occupy Colleges and Occupy Student Debt Join Forces". Retrieved 20 February 2013.
- "Occupy Student Debt".
- Kristof, Gregory. "Hansen Clarke's Student Loan Forgiveness Act Finds Big Support Online". Retrieved 25 June 2013.
- Hopkins, Katy. "1 Million People Show Support for Student Loan Forgiveness Act". Retrieved 25 June 2013.
- Park, Minjae. [http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/college_guide/blog/fix_the_economy_forgive_studen.php / "“Fix the Economy, Forgive Student Debt”"]. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
- Applebaum, Robert. "HR 4170 : The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012". Retrieved 20 February 2013.