Chart of the Week: Student Loan Debt Balances By Age

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Source:  US News

Ask your students to come up with some takeaways after analyzing this chart.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Overall, student loan debt has more than tripled in the last 10 years from $346 billion to $1.15 trillion
  • The bulk of the student loan burden falls on those under 40 years old, although it would appear that about 1/3 of student loan debt is held by those over 40, beyond the age when most student debt should already be paid off.
  • Given how student debt seems prevalent even in the 50+ age range (a dramatic shift from 2004), it would seem that cohort of borrowers would be challenged in saving for retirement.
  • As for causes, a soft job market, reduced public investment in higher education and ongoing cost increases beyond rate of inflation have led to this student debt situation.