Student Loan Borrowers Up 59 Percent Since 2005

July 18, 2012 Updated: September 4, 2012

The number of students taking out student loans has risen to 37.1 million by the first quarter (Q1) of 2012—a 59 percent increase since Q1 2005—according to data released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY).

Among the borrowers, 68 percent are 39 years old or younger, accounting for 24.6 million borrowers. But the number of borrowers ages 50 to 59 doubled to 4.6 million, while those 60 and over has tripled to 2.2 million.

Meanwhile, the average loan balance for college students in the United States has gone up to $24,301, a 55 percent increase since 2005. Total outstanding debt on student loans has more than doubled in just six years.

“The outstanding student loan balance now stands at about $870 billion, surpassing the total credit card balance ($693 billion) and the total auto loan balance ($730 billion),” the FRBNY stated in a blog posting on newyorkfed.org. “With college enrollments increasing and the costs of attendance rising, this balance is expected to continue its upward trend.”

With tuition climbing faster than the rate of inflation, college students may be taking out larger loans to cover the costs.

Outstanding educational debt in the United States topped $1 trillion earlier this year, which is more than the amount Americans owe on their credit cards.

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