As a person who graduated from college with just under $40,000 in student loan debt, I know student loans all too well. However, to get a better idea of what the “student loan crisis” really means for Millennials I combed through the internet and found as many relevant statistics and facts as I could. Some of these numbers are unbelievable, and all of them are terrifying.
Crazy Student Loan Facts:
1. Student loan debt is currently at 1.2 trillion and climbing.
2. 27% of college students move back in with their parents after graduation.
3. According to USnews – 284,000 college graduates made at or below minimum wage in 2012.
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4. The average debt for graduating public college seniors was $25,550 in 2012.
5. The average debt for graduating private non-profit college seniors was $32,300 in 2012.
6. The average debt for graduating private for-profit college seniors was $39,950 in 2012.
7. Student loans are accruing nationally at a rate of $3,000 per second.
8. Since 1999, student loan debt has increased by 500% while incomes for young workers have decreased by 10% since the year 2000.
9. The Congressional Budget Office projects that the Federal Government made about $50 BILLION on student loans in 2013, which is 5 billion more than ExxonMobile.
10. Americans owe more in student loan debt than credit card debt.
11. 40% of student loan borrowers are delinquent at some point on their loans within the first 5 years of repayment.
12. There were $8 billion of defaulted private student loans as of 2012.
13. More that 40 million Americans have student loan debt.
14. It's nearly impossible to shed federal or private student loan debt through bankruptcy.
15. 71% of students that graduate from four year colleges have student loans.
16. 65% of high-debt student loan borrowers didn't understand the terms of their loans.
17. 15% of student loans are held privately.
18. 15% of undergraduate and graduate students have over $100,000 in debt.
19. College tuition costs rose 275% from 1970-2013 (after adjusting for inflation).
20. The U.S. Government can garnish wages and withhold tax-refunds to satisfy unpaid student debt.
21. Only 28% of student loan borrowers know about fact #20.
22. Student loans are causing young people to get married later and delay major purchases.
23. The recent increases in student loan default are largely by students who attended “for-profit” colleges.
24. Most borrowers that are still paying back their loans are in their 30's. (Gen Xers)
25. 37 million people have outstanding loan balances.
26. In 2012, 20% of graduates' student loan debt was from private lenders.
27. Private student loans can be passed on to your family after your death.
Unfortunately, a lot of my peers are hoping that a politician will erase their debt and make college free for everyone. While the sentiment sounds nice, I have a firm “I'll believe it when I see it” stance towards ALL politicians. Their career longevity is based on selling unrealized dreams to the public. I don't trust them to make my life better nearly as much as I trust myself.
I believe that the key to destroying your student loans is to rely on your own choices. Make bigger payments, make bigger sacrifices, delay large purchases, and live below your means.
If you don't make enough money, start a side business for extra income. Hustle. Scratch and claw your way out of debt and don't hold out any hope that someone will do it for you.