Running the Numbers: $1.1 Trillion 

Students protest the rising costs of student loans for higher education on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. Photograph by David McNew/Getty Images Close

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Students protest the rising costs of student loans for higher education on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. Photograph by David McNew/Getty Images

That's the amount of outstanding debt carried by more than 38 million student loan borrowers, according to a May 8 report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. While federally guaranteed student loans through the Department of Education frequently provide income-based repayment plans for those who need help, such practices are not as common with private student loans, according to the agency. The outstanding balance of 850,000 private student loans comes to roughly $8 billion. There could be a domino effect as the debt burden prevents younger borrowers from qualifying for a mortgage or gaining access to credit to start a business.

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