U.S. student debt has nearly tripled to more than $1.3 trillion
in the past eight years, dissuading millions of millennials from becoming first-time homebuyers or even leaving their childhood bedrooms. But other countries such as Australia and Sweden demonstrate how education debt can be managed, according to the New York Times.
“In Australia, income inequality is much higher than in Sweden. Yet while students borrow about as much as they do in the United States (30,000 Australian dollars, or about $22,000), the system works smoothly because borrowers pay nothing until their earnings reach about $40,000,” Susan Dynarski, a professor of education, public policy and economics at the University of Michigan, writes in the newspaper
. “But in the standard American plan, payments don’t vary over time. Borrowers face the same payments when they first get out of college as they will years later, when their earnings are higher and more stable.”
U.S. student debt can’t be extinguished through a bankruptcy filing, but 7 million people are in default and millions more are behind on payments, data show. Changing U.S. repayment plans may avert financial disaster for future students, Dynarski says.
“Payroll withholding is the only way to provide an immediate link between fluctuations in earnings and loan payments,” she says. “Any other system delays the protections that low-income borrowers desperately need…While income-based repayment protects low-income borrowers, it also speeds repayment by high earners.”
A record amount of debt – $37,172 on average – was rung up by this year's college graduates, said The Wall Street Journal
in reporting on an analysis by higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz. That shattered last year's $35,000-plus, also a record.
Kantrowitz came up with the projections based on federal student loan data and other calculations, including tuition inflation.
"Like other, similar analyses, Kantrowitz's estimates of average education debt have gone up with every new graduating class for more than a decade," noted Credit.com. "There's little reason to believe the class of 2017 would be an exception to this unpleasant trend."
"Wages haven't kept pace with growing student loan debt (though the starting salary for college grads has gone up recently), but regardless of what their first jobs end up paying, borrowers have to find a way to stay on top of their loans."
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