Student Loan Debt Nears Trillion Dollar Mark

The Editors | July 16, 3:45 pm

Student loan debt, which accounts for less than ten percent of all household debt in the United States, is rising rapidly even as other types of debt decline. Since 2003, the value of outstanding student loans has more than quadrupled in absolute terms from $241 billion to $986 billion and has grown as a share of total household debt from 3.3 percent to 8.8 percent. Unlike every other category of household debt, student loan debt has continued to grow on a linear trajectory throughout the recession and recovery.

During the same period, credit card debt has actually declined slightly, while shrinking as a share of total debt from 9.5 percent to 5.9 percent. The nearly $8 trillion in mortgage debt held by Americans in the first quarter of 2013 is down from a peak of $9.3 trillion in 2008.

The Senate is currently negotiating a deal that would retroactively remedy a rise in the student loan interest rate that took effect on July 1, when the rate for the federally-subsidized portion of Stafford loans doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent.

Read more at New White House Student Loan Plan Scores as Budget Neutral

About the Data

The data is from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s quarterly report on household debt and credit. The most recent report was issued in May 2013. The data can be downloaded as a spreadsheet here.