In 2017, the national student loan debt in the United States passed a value of $1.4 trillion. Putting pressure on past, current, and future students, the precarious student loan bubble is only growing – and it won’t be long before it pops.
In the decade of the Great Depression following a stock market crash in 1929, unemployment rates peaked at 25% and it took until the start of WWII to fully recover. Decades later, the housing market crashed and started the Great Recession that saw 8.7 million jobs lost between 2007 and 2010. Any way you spin it, the United States is no stranger to the reality of financial crises; and we may be on the threshold of another one.
They say our time spent in education sets the foundation for the rest of our life, but maybe not in the way we want it to. Graduates walk away from university with an average of $28,000 in student loan debt, the borrowing conditions of which may hold more influence over our lives than even the degree we earned. Unrealistic and predatory monthly payments reach an average of around $400 and young adults, particularly, recent grads, are struggling to keep up. Reprioritizing budgets to work around student loan repayment depletes bank accounts and the economy alike. After college, it takes on average 12 years to save up enough for a down payment on a house, almost 50% of Americans are putting off buying a car, and one in 7 are postponing their wedding all in the name of student loans.
A life of debt shouldn’t be the consequence of a college education. We’ll need changes from higher up to prevent this impending national financial nightmare; from free college to federal loan forgiveness, the very institution of higher education itself will be shaken to the core. Take a look at this infographic for more detail on the current state of student loan debt and what it means for recent and upcoming graduates and the economy itself.