6 Things to Know about Growing Student Loan Debt

In September 2012, student loan debt appeared frequently in the news, including a series in the topic in the New York Times. It’s a hot topic because of the difficulty of discharging student loan debt in Las Vegas bankruptcy. Even at the tail of the month, it’s appeared in an Associated Press piece that appeared in Yahoo! News, which delves into a Pew Research Center report. Here are the most interesting findings:

  1. Headlining the discussion is the fact that in 2010 a record 19 percent of all U.S. households owe some student loan debt, up from 15 percent in 2007, which Pew attributes to surging enrollments, withdrawn state subsidies to public universities, and tuition hikes. In 1989, that figure was only nine percent.
  2. Younger Americans owe an increasingly higher share of student loan debt. In 1998, education debts of heads of households under 35 accounted for 25 percent; in 2010, that figure grew to 40 percent. The Pew does not discuss what impact, if any, changing marriage rates of young Americans may have had on this particular statistic.
  3. Thirty-one percent of all student loan debt was owed by Americans in the highest fifth of the income distribution (more than $97,600).
  4. In 2010, the average household owed $26,700 in student loan debt (in 2011 dollars). That’s up from $9,700 in 1989.
  5. One of the Pew study’s most striking—and important—findings was that in 2010, the ratio of student loan debt to income was highest for poorer Americans: 24 percent for annual incomes below $21,000, which is up from 15 percent in 2007.
  6. None of these figures includes other debts, such as mortgage debt, auto debt, or credit card debt.

Clearly, the student debt problem is worsening. More alarmingly, little is being done about it for the debtors, and many outlets claim that higher education is worth the cost without breaking up the data by year of graduation and course of study, or without distinguishing between public and private universities.

If you have student loan debt, and making the payments is becoming more difficult (as the data indicate it will), talking to a Las Vegas bankruptcy lawyer can help. Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy might clear other debts, allowing you to free income for student loans, and Chapter 13 can reduce payments to all creditors if you need time to find work.

For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation. Call us at 1-702-880-5554 to set up your free consultation.

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