Is $1 trillion a number we should fear?


Is $1 trillion a number we should fear?


Written by: Ben Miller for New America Foundation, June 4, 2013


The most popular number in higher education today is $1 trillion—the total amount of outstanding student loan debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It’s big and scary; the size of figure we're more used to seeing attached to wars and national budgets, and easily encapsulates a broadly held sense that college is unaffordable for all but the wealthiest families. Not surprisingly, the figure is ubiquitous in the media,  producing alarming charts, such as one from a piece in Mother Jones (see full article) about different plans to deal with student loan interest rates.

There’s just one problem—the number isn’t necessarily the boogeyman it’s made out to be. That’s because the $1 trillion loan balance is an aggregate number.

It just so happens that at the same time student loan debt was expanding, so too was enrollment in higher education...

Read the full article here.


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