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Is there really a student loan debt crisis?

There’s no shortage of headlines alluding to a student loan crisis. But is there a crisis brewing or is this just a headline grab? Let’s look at the data over the past 4 years to find out.

  • Outstanding student loan (should be loan) debt grew 21%, reaching a high of $1.49 trillion in Q4 2016.
  • Over the past 4 years, student loan trades grew 4%, with a slight decline from 2015 to 2016.
  • Average balance per trade grew 17% to reach $8,210.
  • Number of overall student loan trades per consumer is down 5% to just 3.85.
  • The average person with a student loan balance had just over $32,000 outstanding at the end of 2016 — a rise of 15%.

While we’re seeing some increases, the data tells us this is a media headline grab. If students are educated about the debt they’re acquiring and are confident they can repay it, student loan debt shouldn’t be a crippling burden.

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