Raj Date: Student debt is on the rise in the
United States. In 2012, we calculated that outstanding student loan debt had topped 1
trillion dollars. That’s more than Americans owe on their credit cards or their cars. Education
is a major part of the American dream and many students in this country depend on student
loans to finance their education. LaShaun Warren: More and more people are going
to school. In the past twenty years college enrollment has jumped from 13.8 million students
to 21 million students. But tough economic times and rising costs have meant that more
students than ever before are taking out loans to cover the cost of college. Raj Date: So let’s break this down. Student
debt in the United States is made up mostly of student loans. The balance of federal loan
debt is over $850 billion, while private lending makes up around $150 billion. In 2010, the
average borrower at a private, non-profit school graduated with $28,100 in debt. Even
for those going to public schools, those borrowers graduated with $22,000 in loans. [PAUSE] In some ways, it’s pretty simple: The cost
of college has grown faster than inflation. More people are borrowing, and they are borrowing
more. Iris Rivera: In the past ten years the cost
of attendance at public colleges and universities is up 42 percent. For private not-for-profit,
it’s up 31 percent. These costs are trickling down to students. When pursuing a college degree, students need
to make informed decisions so they are not overwhelmed with debt in the end. Tessie Wilson: Sometimes when students graduate
with a huge amount of student debt they’re not able to go out and live an independent
life. They have car payments, they have rent, they have student loans, they have food to
pay for, so often times they go home, they’re boomerang kids, and live with their parents
again. LaShaun Warren: Every day, we hear from the
people about their experiences with student lending. We’ve read thousands of stories.
And we’ve noticed some recurring themes such as people being confused about the terms of
their loan and how much they would actually have to pay.