WASHINGTON — THE ISSUE: More Americans are getting buried by student debt — causing delays in home ownership, limiting how much people can save and leaving taxpayers at risk as many loans go unpaid. The statistics look daunting.
Student debt now totals around $1.26 trillion. This amounts to a stunning 350
But college drop-outs who borrow are increasingly less likely to repay their loans, as are former students at for-profit colleges that in some cases never provided the stable careers promised in their brochures. Nor are college graduates necessarily repaying their loans, a reflection of the stagnating incomes for many.
More than 60
Studies have shown that student debt payments have led to a delay in home ownership, as well as a decline in college savings for the borrowers' children — creating a multigenerational debt cycle.
WHERE THEY STAND
Democrat Hillary Clinton hopes to curtail debt dramatically for undergraduates. She has modified her initial plan after talks with the presidential campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ran on the promise of taxpayer-funded college.
Clinton now proposes no tuition for students from families making less than $85,000 when they go to an in-state, public college. That threshold would rise to $125,000 by 2021. All community colleges would be tuition-free, in addition to making it easier for existing borrowers to refinance at lower rates, limit repayments to 10
Republican Donald Trump this month promised to cap payments at 12.5
WHY IT MATTERS
Education debt has become a drag on the kinds of spending and saving that historically helped U.S. economic growth.
The average college-educated head of household under 40 owes $404 a month in student debt payments, according to an AP analysis of Federal Reserve data. That's slightly more than what the government says the average college-educated family spends at the supermarket.
An analysis of renters this year by the company Apartment List found that education loans make it more difficult to buy a home, a critical rite of passage. College-educated millennials with student debt must typically save for a full 10 years to afford a 20
The high debt loads and need for many workers to return to school also mean that older Americans make up a growing share of education loans.
Americans over 40 account for 35
Generation X adults — those from 35 to 50 years old — owe about as much as people fresh out of college do.
This story is part of AP's "Why It Matters" series, examining three dozen issues at stake in the presidential election. You can find the series at http://apne.ws/2bBG85a
EDITOR'S NOTE _ One in an AP series examining issues at stake in the presidential election and how they affect people