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Student loan debt triples in the U.S. over the past decade

For years since the Great Recession, consumers in Oregon and throughout the country have struggled with financial difficulties that have included unemployment, bankruptcy, foreclosure and car repossession. It has long been a part of the American dream to avoid these types of challenges by getting a good education in order to obtain a high-paying job that can allow a family to purchase a nice home and live in comfort. Unfortunately, during uncertain times not even a quality education is guaranteed to protect someone from hardships.

In fact, in some cases getting a college education can cause even more harm. It’s certainly not harmful to improve one’s knowledge and skills, but overwhelming debt can disrupt the most carefully-laid financial plans. Student loan debt is rapidly becoming one of the most crippling and long-lasting types of debt for the American consumer. Credit reporting agency TransUnion reported that student loans for U.S. consumers have nearly tripled this year from what they were in 2005: going up to 36.8 percent from 12.9 percent of consumers’ total outstanding loan balance.

In comparison, mortgage rates dropped from 63.2 percent to 42.9 percent, while credit card debt also decreased. Student loans can be difficult for college graduates to repay, especially just after leaving school and entering the workforce. Many find that in these uncertain times, a position in their chosen field is unavailable and they are unable to find work that will help them to repay debts and sustain a decent living. Some types of debt relief options, including personal bankruptcy and credit counseling, can help those suffering from unforeseen financial difficulties to get back on their feet.

Source: 24/7 Wall St., “Student Loans Triple as Share of Young Americans’ Debt,” Paul Ausick, Oct. 9, 2014

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