Student loan debt is one of the most significant aspects of contemporary American financial life. According to The Economist, total U.S. student loan debt surpassed $1.2 trillion in 2014, and over 7 million borrowers are in default. There are approximately 44 million people with student loans who have an average outstanding loan balance of $37,172.
Student loan debt now exceeds auto loans and credit cards as America’s largest personal debt burden.
Why the sudden increase in debt? It’s because the cost of education has gone up exponentially. According to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics, over the past three decades the cost of a college degree has increased by more than 1,000%. States have cut their education budgets for public universities, and this has shifted the cost burden onto students and borrowers. If student debt had stayed constant with inflation since 1992, graduates would not be facing the same student loan burdens today.
So if you or someone you love is struggling with student loan debt, the good news is you are not alone. Better yet, there are options to deal with it. Here are some proven strategies we’ve discovered for tackling student loan debt head on: