Number of aging Americans paying student loans soars
People aged 65 and older still carrying some $18.2 billion in unpaid student loans
The rising cost of higher education is dogging Americans into retirement, with people aged 65 and older still carrying some $18.2 billion in unpaid student loans, according to a federal report released on Wednesday.
While the Government Accountability Office report noted that relatively few U.S. households headed by people 65 or over are carrying student loans, the value of the unpaid debt had spiked from $2.8 billion in 2005, before the financial crisis.
That debt is concentrated in a small number of homes. Just 4 percent of households headed by someone 65 or older carried student loan debt as of 2010, up from 1 percent in 2004.
“Some may think of student loan debt as a just a young person’s problem,” said U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, who heads a Senate committee on aging and held a hearing on the findings on Wednesday. “As it turns out, that’s increasingly not the case.”
The $18.2 billion figure includes loans related to both the holders’ education, often for those who have returned to school later in life, and their children’s education, the report found.
Across the United States, about 40 million Americans are paying back some $1.1 trillion in student loan debt.