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America’s Student Loan Debt is Over a Trillion Dollars. Who Owes All This Money—and Why?

Student loan debt in the United States has reached an astronomical high. How did we get here?

Beloved astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson once quipped that a stack of a trillion dollars would reach the moon and back four times. So calling America’s student loan debt—currently at $1.1 trillion—astronomical is not much of a stretch. According to the Federal Reserve Bank’s Household Debt and Credit Report, 11.3 percent of that total was at least 90 days past due in the fourth quarter of 2014.

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Obama Wants to Give You Two Years of Community College On the House

The President annnounced his new proposal to help students pay for college.

The tab on our national student loan debt runs at $1.2 trillion. It’s hard to even conceptualize how much money that is. But if anything symbolizes how irreparably broken our educational system is, it’s that amount: $1.2 trillion. U.S. leaders will be dealing with this problem for at least a couple generations but President Obama has just announced a proposal that might be the first step towards a solution: making the first two years of community college free. President Obama made the announcement via a video posted to his Facebook page on Thursday.

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Is Six-Figure Student Loan Debt the Norm?

Fewer undergraduates owe big bucks than extreme stories in the media would lead us to believe.

With total student loan debt topping $1 trillion, extreme stories of students being crushed under the weight of six-figure debt can start to seem like the norm. But how common is it to come out of college owing over $100,000? According to some data crunching (PDF) from Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org and Fastweb.com, only 0.2 percent of undergraduate students leave school owing that much or more.

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College Majors and Cash: Follow the Money or Your Dreams?

If engineering majors make almost twice what the average liberal arts major earns, should everybody just become engineers?

When you look at your paycheck do you wonder if you picked the wrong major in college? A new study from Georgetown's Center on Education and the Workforce says that not only do science, math, and engineering majors earn more right after college than grads with humanities degrees, they also earn heftier salaries over the long haul. With the high cost of college and total student loan debt surpassing total credit card debt for the first time in history, this raises the question: Should students pass on majoring in something that truly interests them and instead go for the degrees that make money?

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On Track for $1 Trillion: Student Loan Debt Greater Than Credit Card Debt

For the first time in history Americans owe more on their student loans than on their credit cards. That's going to make growing up hard.


Last June, for the first time in history, Americans owed more on their student loans, a record $833 billion, than on their credit cards, $826.5 billion. The amount owed on student loans increases at a rate of about $2,853.88 per second, meaning we're on track for total student debt to cross the $1 trillion mark sometime this year.

According to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org and Fastweb.com, this increasing student debt has long term, macroeconomic implications for our society. He told NPR's Marketplace that the amount of money students owe—on average, $24,000—is usually repaid over a 20-year time frame, which means

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