Once upon a time, America invested in its young people so that they could enter the world without debt. College was meant to provide opportunity and strengthen the overall economy by creating a better- educated workforce. Looking at the numbers today, I can only think that our current system has failed this generation.
Student loan debt is crippling young Americans. Outstanding student loans now total more than $1.2 trillion and counting. In 2012, an astonishing 71 percent of college seniors owed student loans. What’s even more worrisome is that from 2004 to 2012, the average student loan balance increased by 70 percent.
It’s not just students who are suffering. The economy is taking a hit, too. A study by New York-based think-tank Demos estimates that the class of 2014 will graduate with an average of $26,000 in debt. This translates to an average household loss of more than $200,000 in future net assets.