Student Loan Debt Surpasses Credit Card, Auto Balances

The outstanding U.S. student loan balance is about $870 billion, surpassing the total credit card balances ($693 billion) and the total auto loan debt ($730 billion), according to a report by the New York Federal Reserve.
From the second to the third quarter of 2011, the total outstanding student loan balance grew 2.1 percent, from $852 billion to $870 billion. Over the same time period, other types of consumer debt declined or remained flat, according to the New York Fed’s new analysis of Equifax credit reports.
Of the 241 million people in the United States who have a credit report with Equifax, about 15.4 percent – or 37 million – hold outstanding student loan debt.
Late last year, President Obama announced executive actions to cap monthly federal student loan repayment at 10 percent of discretionary income for college graduates, reduced from the previous 15 percent.
The student loan debt spreads across the general population, said the New York Fed report
Among people under 30 years of age, 40.1 percent have outstanding student loan debt. Among those between the ages of 30 and 39, 25.1 percent have outstanding student loan debt.
In contrast, only 7.4 percent of people who are at least 40 years old have outstanding student loan debt.
As a result, $580 billion of the total $870 billion in student loan debt is owed by people younger than 40.
The average outstanding student loan balance per borrower is $23,300. About one-quarter of borrowers owe more than $28,000; about 10 percent of borrowers owe more than $54,000. The proportion of borrowers who owe more than $100,000 is 3.1 percent, and 0.45 percent of borrowers, or 167,000 people, owe more than $200,000.
Of the 37 million borrowers who have outstanding student loan balances as of third-quarter 2011, 14.4 percent, or about 5.4 million borrowers, have at least one past due student loan account.
The past due balances amount to $85 billion, or about 10 percent of the total outstanding student loan balance.
“To put this in perspective, the same 10 percent rate applies on average to other types of household delinquent debt, including mortgages, credit cards, and auto loans,” reads a blog posting by the New York Fed.

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