News & Politics

Student-Loan Delinquency Skyrocketing, Reportedly Hitting 'Danger Zone'

Will our politicians finally face this grim reality? What will it take?

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Most of us are have seen headlines about the burgeoning student-loan crisis. As of August, for instance, student loans had topped $914 billion -- an increase of $10 billion in less than half a year, even as most debt was falling around the country. Still, we do not appear to have hit rock-bottom. A new report shows that student-loan delinquency rates have gone through the roof in recent years and that, even more troubling, we may be entering a "danger zone" in which the entire U.S. economy is at risk.

The report from FICO Labs shows that student-loan delinquencies saw a 22-percent increase in the past several years; the overall delinquency rate is now more than 15 percent.

The LA Timeshas more:

The worsening deliquency rate comes as loan balances surge. The average student-loan debt jumped to $27,253 last year, up 58% from $17,233 in 2005. By contrast, average credit-card and auto-loan balances declined during that period.

“As more people default on their student loans, their credit ratings will drop, making it harder for them to access new credit and help grow the economy,” [FICO Labs head Andrew] Jennings said. “Even people who stay current on their student loans are dealing with very large debts, which reduces the money they have available to spend elsewhere.”

Will our politicians finally face this grim reality? What will it take?

Lauren Kelley is the activism and gender editor at AlterNet and a freelance journalist based in New York City. Her work has appeared in Salon, Time Out New York, the L Magazine, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter.
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