Anytime you want to discuss the United States’ collective student loan debt, one creeping figure always pops up: $1.4 trillion. This amount accounts for the second most debt in the nation – just after mortgages. The increase, reports say, comes from the elimination of private lenders and banks a few years ago as a move to stop increasing interest rates and predatory practices. However, doing so means all debt related to student loans is now directly held by the government.
This has grown to be quite a problem. The government’s total worth in assets is approximately $3.2 trillion, and when regarding the loan assets, student loan debt is 37 percent of that. For students, it’s not much better. In 2015, averages showed that graduating alumni left their respective college with about $30,000 in debt, quite crippling to those responsible for our future. This figure only threatens to rise if something isn’t done.
The issue is a topic of much discussion in our current presidential race too. Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton, for instance, would like to make higher education free much like our public high school system. Others, such as Republican candidate Marco Rubio, favor a system that determines payments based on a percentage of income received (this already exists however). Regardless of what system works or will be used, change is coming, because without it the crisis will worsen.
Delinquency (those who do not or cannot pay their student loans) is also on the rise too. The amount reaches about 11 percent of the accumulated student debt figure. Likely, this comes from the repayment “likeliness” of some students. Those who graduate high school should find that many colleges will give them admittance regardless of their high school GPA. Does this mean the student will find success in higher academics? Not entirely. The option should certainly be made for everyone, but not everyone is in the same circumstance, meaning there are many who will find it hard to repay.
It only gets harder from then on. As tuition rates continue to rise each year, another frightening statistic comes into play. About 70 percent of those who default on their loans attended a 2-year or for-profit college. The amount of debt increases with little in the way of getting said money back. Without proper jobs to accommodate the large debt, it’s no surprise the total figure for student loan debt in the U.S. is so high. If we’re to see any resolution of this crippling factor, the system must adapt.