Goldman Explains Why The Amount Of Total Student Loan Debt Has Quadrupled Since The Year 2000

graduation, gen y, cell phone, college debt

Photo: Flickr / AdamLogan

Goldman’s Alec Phillips and Hui Shan are out with a very good note about the size and implications of student loan debt in the American economy.Student loan debt has gotten a ton of interest over the past year since A) it’s growing B) there’s a heightened interest in all things credit-boomy C) the bad job market has made the existing burden even more onerous.

Good clean student loan stats aren’t that easy to come by, but as of Q4 2011 there was at least $870 billion in student loan debt outstanding, says Goldman, and that number has quadrupled since the year 2000!

So why the big surge?

Alex Phillips and Hui Shan give four reasons:

  • The cost of attending college has risen. In 10 years, there was a 67% surge in the cost of a year’s worth of tuition, books, and housing.
  • In 2000, 28% of all undergrads relied on loans. In 2008, that number was up to 37%.
  • College enrollment has risen. In 2000, 26% of all people over the age of 25 had attended some college. That number is up to 30%.
  • Student loan repayment has decline and delinquencies are up, meaning the existing student loan debt stock stays higher longer.

Meanwhile, here’s a pretty interesting chart on the correlation between unemployment and college attendance.

college attendance

Photo: Goldman Sachs

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