One trillion dollars: Student loan debt builds toward yet another record


Last year the amount of student loans surpassed credit card debt. And while consumers are paying down their credit cards and home loans, USA Today reports, outstanding student loan debt has doubled in the past five years. (And keep in mind that many people leave college with student loans and credit card debt.)

With that massive amount of debt comes frustration, especially for recent graduates who are having trouble finding a job. Those frustrations have played out at many of the Occupy Wall Street protests in the last month.

For months and months, higher education reporters have kept their eyes on the one trillion mark — which has not yet happened, even though several news outlets ran inaccurate headlines today saying it had.

“Not yet,” said Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of the FinAid and Fastweb Web sites who closely monitors the numbers. “It’s very close to hitting it.”

Kantrowitz created the student loan debt clock, above, which he cautions is for entertainment purposes. He estimates that the amount grows by $2,853.88 each second — so it shouldn’t be much longer before yet another debt milestone is hit.

What could possibly be the next marker? Share your thoughts on Twitter or my Facebook page.

Jenna Johnson is a political reporter who is covering the 2016 presidential campaign.

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