Here are some interesting charts from a recent presentation about student loan debt by Donghoon Lee, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Total student debt was the only type of household debt that continued to rise throughout the recent recession while most households were de-leveraging, and is now second only to mortgage debt. You’ve probably heard the “trillion dollar” number in the news.
Below is a recent breakdown of the student loan balances. While a greater percentage of students now have debt, 70% of loan balances are under $25,000. Six-figure debt loads only make up less than 4% of borrowers.
However, I think the most worrying stat is the increasing rate of defaults. Actual delinquency rates are often understated because almost half of these loans are currently in deferment or in grace periods and therefore are not in the repayment cycle. Among loans that are actually subject to repayment, delinquency rates are over 30% overall and rising.
I think this last indicator shows that the current trends are unsustainable, although I don’t know what the solution will be.