Stat of the Day: Don’t-Lend-College-Students-Money Edition


Here’s a fun tidbit fact-checker extraordinaire Aaron Ross dug up when we were shipping my Assignment: Ohio feature for the November/December issue. With the help of student-aid guru Mark Kantrowitz, Aaron was verifying that the majority of the student loans taken out in the United States haven’t yet been paid back. Just how much in outstanding loans are we talking?

Of the nearly $1.5 trillion in loans that US students have ever taken out on record, about $900 billion of it hasn’t been repaid. Yes, there are, according to the best estimate available, around some 60 million Americans walking around with student-loan balances. No, the numbers aren’t really so staggering because grads are slackers who never pay their debts; a third of all student loan debt was incurred in the last four years. So the national outstanding-loan debt is growing fast. Too bad for all us suckers who took out all that aid that the same cannot be said of the job market.

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