Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Student Debt and Defaults Soar as Colleges and Students Saddle the Taxpayer

Over the last 10 years, U.S. student debt has ballooned by 164%, or almost five times the growth of the overall economy. These "loans," which now amount to $1.4 trillion, or $33,000 for each of the 44 million student borrowers, have enabled colleges to raise tuition at a rate almost three times that of overall consumer prices over the same 10-year period.

But, shed no tears for the student borrower for ultimately there are three avenues for the student to foist these loans on to U.S. taxpayer's shoulders:

First, students are increasingly defaulting on these loans. Over the past 10 years, the number of student loan defaults has skyrocketed 400% to 4.7 million and the number of loans more than 90 days delinquent has soared by 250%. Furthermore, nearly one in three borrowers who exited defaults through rehabilitation defaulted for a second time within 24 months, and more than 40% of borrowers defaulted again within three years.

Second, programs of loan forgiveness and income-driven payment plans have proliferated. In 2007, President Bush signed a bill that subsidized student loan borrowers who took jobs in the public or non-profit sectors upon graduation. Student loan debt left over after 10 years of payments would be forgiven. Beginning in 2014, President Obama capped borrowers' monthly payments at 10% of their income, extended the repayment period from 10 to as long as 25 years, and offered to forgive any remaining balances when that time is up. The Government Accountability Office calculated that the government will lose $21 for every $100 in student loans issued to someone who takes advantage of an income-driven repayment plan.

Third, a federal student loan can be discharged in the event that the federal loan was used toward the cost of enrollment at an institution that closed due to loss of accreditation, loss of a majority of academic programs, or because the school violated state or federal law.

With U.S. worker wages growing less than 3% annually, workers can ill-afford the $10,000 per worker burden of student debt which has underpinned college overspending and student wastefulness. Ernie Goss

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