A growing reliance on federal student loans to finance increasingly costly postsecondary education expenses has resulted in borrowers accumulating larger amounts of student loan debt. By a number of metrics, the debt being incurred by current borrowers is considerably larger than amounts incurred by past cohorts. Many borrowers also are taking advantage of repayment flexibilities that allow them to extend the period over which they repay their loans, but which may lead to larger overall amounts paid due to increased interest expenses. In aggregate terms, the federal student loan portfolio has grown considerably in recent years and the outstanding balance of federal student loans now exceeds $1 trillion—more than a tenfold increase over the outstanding balance two decades ago.
Date of Report: March 23, 2015
Order Number: IF10158
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