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U.S. student debt tops $1.6 trillion, affecting one-fifth of all U.S. adults

According to Nicholas Hillman at the University of Wisconsin School of Education, the second largest source of American debt next to home mortgages is student loans.
Posted: 6:35 PM, Jan 17, 2023
Updated: 2023-01-17 21:59:15-05
Student loan forgiveness

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — In January 2023, a coalition of numerous groups and state governments petitioned the United States Supreme Court for the chance to submit over a dozen briefs meant to influence the court's decision regarding federal student loan relief.

The briefs highlight the impact of debt on individuals from all walks of life and backgrounds, as well as the struggles the covid-19 pandemic brought to many Americans who owe federal student loans.

One brief looked into the obstacles veterans face when it comes to the student loan crisis, while others focused on the strong legal foundation to support Biden's proposals and the economic urgency around canceling student debt.

Federal data shows 43 million Americans, around 20 percent of adults, have educational loans outstanding that add up to a total of $1.6 trillion.

According to Dr. Nicholas Hillman of the University of Wisconsin at Madison's School of Education, student debt is one of the biggest economic issues in America today.

"And so there's a wide array of experiences with the lending system, but one characteristic is that student loan debt is the second largest form of consumer credit next to home mortgages, meaning more than car loans more than credit card credit cards. Student loan debt is a large piece of the financial debt situation in America," said Hillman.

According to the Education Data Initiative, Californians account for nearly $142 billion dollars of student loan debt in the U.S., with just under 10 percent of the state's residents owing money for education.

Californians also owe more per borrower than the average U.S. student, owing an average of $37,084 dollars compared to the national average of $36,510 dollars, and more than 50 percent of student borrowers in California are under the age of 35.