Student Debt Fastest-Growing for Consumers Over 60

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We support reforms to the financial marketplace that protect consumers from unscrupulous banks and lenders.

By Consumers Union on Thursday, April 18th, 2013

This week, the Chronicle of Education reported that older consumers are increasingly struggling with student loan debt.  Many of these older borrowers thought they could increase their chances of getting decent jobs by earning an advanced degree later in life, but are struggling to make ends meet instead.

In fact, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, student-loan debt is growing fastest among adults ages 60 and older, with more than two million people in that age group now owing an average of $19,000.

Why is this happening?  There are many factors at work:

  • The recent recession drove more people back to graduate school.
  • Tuition is rising.
  • The number of full fellowships being offered to graduate students is declining.
  • Older borrowers also tend to spend more time in their programs than younger students because many also hold full-time jobs.
  • Some are single parents juggling child care, work, and school.

These troubling developments could translate into debts that follow consumers to their graves – and we think it has to stop!

Consumers Union has outlined Seven Principles for Fair Student Lending that would go a long way toward better protecting consumers throughout the college financial aid process and after graduation.  We’re working hard to ensure that higher education remains an opportunity to improve one’s future, not a financial burden.

Do you or someone you know have student loans?  Worried about making ends meet while repaying?  If so, tell us in the comments section.

 

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