Figures provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York show that since 1999, outstanding student loan debt has grown by more than 511 percent. Over that same period, all other household debt in America – the sum total of all credit card bills, all auto loans, even all mortgage debt assumed during the great housing boom and bust that triggered the financial crisis – grew by about 100 percent.
Rising by $100 billion a year, outstanding student loan debt now stands at about $930 billion, and is expected to reach $1 trillion by year’s end.
“Student loan debt has become a macroeconomic factor; it affects the economy,” said Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of the financial aid website http://www.finaid.org. “Students who graduate with excessive debt are more likely to delay buying a car, buying a house, getting married, having children, saving for their retirement….They’re spending less because they first have to tackle their student loan debt.”