Seniors, Parents, Students Carry Heavy College Loan Debt

College graduates from the last decade or so are not alone in carry large student loan debt, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. People over the age of 40 carry one-third of all student loan debt while 30-somethings average $28,500.

The study reveals a staggering number. $870 billion. That’s the outstanding debt from student loans among Americans, far outpacing credit card debt (at less than $700 billion) and the auto loan industry (at $730 billion). Most people expect college tuition to continue its rapid increase while even more people try to obtain an undergraduate degree or go back to school to begin a new career.

More than one out of every nine people with student loan debt carries a burden of $50,000 or more. Meaning at least four million people have the equivalent of a high end car (or even more than two) loan.

The study authors note that a full 27% of borrowers that are currently in repayment have a past due balance. This does not include current students.

In sum, student loan debt is not just a concern for the young. Parents and the federal government shoulder a substantial part of the postsecondary education bill. Moreover, the student loan delinquency picture is not fully captured in the broad statistics since a significant proportion of borrowers and balances are not yet in the repayment cycle.

It is not just young students or recent graduates being burdened by the debt load. People over 60 have more than four percent of the student loan debt. Parents are also having to take out more loans for their children’s education. A report by showed parental debt load more than doubling over the last decade and topping $100 billion. They average out at roughly $34,000 — tough amount to pay back prior to retirement.

The study was conducted for the Federal Reserve of New York and used credit reports from Equifax to calculate the statistics and draw their conclusions.

Related Stories:

Student Loan Debt Could Cause the Next Financial Crisis

Stimulate the Economy by Forgiving Student Loans?

Obama Administration Eases Load for Student Borrowers


Photo by Aaron Krager


ERIKA S1 years ago


Robert German
Past Member 3 years ago

Actually marvelous post guys, thank you so0o0 very much!!
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Akonfeon A.
Akonfeon A.3 years ago

You have done in fact wonderful work by make such a great blog keep up the good work.
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Christopher M.
Christopher M.5 years ago

I was doing better than $50,000 a year by 2009, Screw social work. I do not have the emotiional-social intelligence for this.

Christopher M.
Christopher M.5 years ago

Maybe you won't see a good job until your thirties. I was 29.

Gina P.
Regina P5 years ago

Masters of Social Work - top salary = $50,000/year. I'm not getting rich.

Inga S.
Inga S5 years ago

when a job requires a college degree it should have to pay a starting wage high enough to make payments on that student loan above average living expenses. Most jobs requiring college degrees do not really need them, But thier (employers) insistance on them is what is fueling this problem.
You made the debt, outside of disabling desease or accident, you should have to pay your debts. Student loans AND Mortgages included.
Live within your means, not within your wants and dreams!

Ron L.
Ron Loynes5 years ago

OK if we all remember the banks started lending money to people who could not pay for home morgages but you can declare bankruptcy but our ever just and fair Congress passed a law that says Student Loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, so now banks and other lending institutions especially with private colleges will loan money to anyone. I saw a young lady who got a $50,000 loan for two years as a nuclear medical technition (I assume it has to do with radiation therapy) but she could not pass the Algebra and another two classes so she still has to pay the money back and she's now going to be a hair dresser. Colleges and universities have raised the cost of classes even though in some cases costs are going down as in on-line classes (look at U of Phoenix it 400% higher costs than state colleges and has a incredibly low graduation rate but it still gets paid). I think we need to change the law back on bankruptcy and include student loans then school costs will go down and loaning companys will actually have to be held accountable for their own scams otherwise look out for the next big bailout paid by all of us again. Besides, graduating from college is not like it was 30 years ago just like buying a home has changed it's all about all of the peripheral people making money first, agents, banks, insurance etc.

Jane Barton
Jane Barton5 years ago

I agree with the sign, Why should I bust my ass? Our GOP Nazi "leaders" are our role model as to how to succeed. Insider trading, corporate raiding, and stealing from the American people is how they did it. Now people with two degrees can't even get a job. It doesn't matter how much education you have any more, it's who you KNOW and who you BLOW!

Alice E.
Alice E5 years ago

I still owe $13000 and I'm 67! I worked part time all through the 3 years I went back to get my degree after raising my children alone, studied constantly and had no social life, which was ok for the duration. Now I'll be paying this off until I'm dead! I wish some of you would think beyond the end of your nose and realize that people are different, with different life experiences, different needs. Some compassion please. Not all students are out partying and running around. And the economy actually does rip the rug out from under some graduates who thought they were going into a lucrative field.