Student Loans Are Ruining Your Life. Now They’re Ruining the Economy, Too
American students are well over $1 trillion in debt, and it’s starting to hurt everyone, economists say
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Chris Rong did everything right. A 23-year-old dentistry student in New York, Chris excelled at one of the country’s top high schools, breezed through college, and is now studying dentistry at one of the best dental schools in the nation.
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But it may be a long time before he sees any rewards. He’s moved back home with his parents in Bayside, Queens—an hour-and-a-half commute each way to class at the New York University’s College of Dentistry—and by the time he graduates in 2016, he’ll face $400,000 in student loans. “If the money weren’t a problem I would live on my own,” says Rong. “My debt is hanging over my mind. I’m taking that all on myself.”
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Rong isn’t alone. Across the country, students are taking on increasingly large amounts of debt to pay for heftier education tuitions. Figures released last week by the Federal Reserve of New York show that aggregate student loans nationwide have continued to rise. At the end of 2003, American students and graduates owed just $253 billion in aggregate debt; by the end of 2013, American students’ debt had ballooned to a total of $1.08 trillion, an increase of over 300%. In the past year alone, aggregate student debt grew 10%. By comparison, overall debt grew just 43% in the last decade and 1.6% over the past year.