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Student Debt Breaks New Record, Recent Graduates Struggling Even More

As student debt hits new record-setting highs, data also reveals recent student graduates are struggling even more than past graduates to repay their debts.

A staggering number of US student loan debtors can’t repay their loans years after entering the labor market. A growing portion of this population is carrying its student debt into old age, and many even die without fully discharging their debts. Bloomberg’s student loan securitization data revealed total US student loan debt, most of which the federal government Department of Education secures, is now at a record-setting $1.465 trillion as of November 2018.

Financial analysts say the debt profile may become excessively burdensome to the government if a recession hits hard. Paul Della Guardia, of the Institute of International Finance, warned Bloomberg of the potential risks of a recession.

“Over 90% of student loans are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Education, meaning that if a recession causes a rise in youth unemployment and triggers mass defaults, this contingent liability could prove burdensome for the U.S. government budget,” said Della Guardia.

When the last recession came to an end in June 2009, the student loan profile was $675 billion, but the current debt level is now double that amount.

The rate of default hit new highs with loans given in 2012. The rate of default for loans given in 2012 is higher than than any other year since the recession. What this means is that borrowers who secured loans in 2012 find it much more difficult to repay compared to others who got their loans before and after 2012, not minding that they have the same repayment period allotted to them all. Those student loans have suffered the second highest default rate in US history, according to the U.S Department of Education.

Most of the 2012 borrowers are now aged 24 to 33 years and just about settling down to their careers. Since this class of borrowers entered the labor market when unemployment was high, getting employed or finding a desired career proved difficult to many of them, raising the risks of defaults.

A sizable portion of student loan borrowers became major defaulters with their debt burdens. The US Department of Education said more than 2.7 million borrowers have debts exceeding $100,000 with nearly 700,000 of them owing more than $200,000.

Further investigations reveal that people aged 25 to 34 owe as much as $489 billion by the third quarter of 2018, an amount less than the $530 billion owed by borrowers aged 35 to 49 years. Also apparent from official data compiled in September 2018, is that about 1.8 million loan takers are now aged 62 and above, meaning they are taking their debt burden into their old age. These 1.8 million people owe a total of $62.5 billion, while those aged 50 to 61 years at the moment owe a combined $213.6 billion.



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