Student Debt Crisis Isn’t Just About Economy

With the Iowa caucus under our belt, the 2012 election year is in full swing and one issue being raised across the country is student debt. So far, it seems that a number of candidates propose to address this issue through their plans to "improve the economy." They don't seem to understand the educational debt crisis very well.

We certainly recognize the dire need for more jobs, but we think the issue of educational debt demands a more direct solution. We're taking this opportunity to raise some issues that warrant candidates' attention and to clarify the magnitude of what students and graduates are facing.

Student debt is already greater than credit card debt (that happened in 2010) and will soon pass $1 trillion. According to expert Mark Kantrowitz, total student loan debt is increasing at a rate of about $2,853.88 per second. Two thirds of the undergraduate class of 2010 graduated with student debt, at an average of more than $25,000 per student.

A recent survey commissioned by The Institute for College Access & Success, Demos, and Young Invincibles found that 76 percent of young adults say college has become harder to afford in the last five years, but they overwhelmingly (eight in 10) believe college and other education after high school is more important today than a generation ago.

The costs of a college education are rising beyond most families' reach and more and more students must take out loans if they want to procure a college education. This is making a vital piece of the American Dream less accessible to low- and moderate- income families.

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