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Student-Loan Debt Rose to $904 Billion in First Quarter

Debt from educational loans in the U.S. rose 3.4 percent to $904 billion in the first quarter, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Outstanding student debt increased from $874 billion three months earlier, the New York Fed said today in a report. The total includes loans that are backed by the U.S. government as well as private borrowing by students and their parents.

Student-loan debt surpassed credit-card debt in the second quarter of 2010. In the year ended March 31, outstanding student debt rose by $64 billion from a year earlier, while all other forms of household debt fell a combined $383 billion, according to the report.

“Student loan debt continues to grow even as consumers reduce mortgage debt and credit card balances,” Donghoon Lee, senior economist at the New York Fed, said in a statement accompanying the report. “It remains the only form of consumer debt to substantially increase since the peak of household debt in late 2008.”

Ninety-day delinquency rates for student loans increased to 8.69 percent from 6.13 percent in the first quarter of 2003, higher than that of mortgages, auto loans and home equity lines of credit, the New York Fed said.

The loan totals are based on figures from a nationally representative random sample of people provided by the Equifax Inc. credit bureau.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimated in March that the debt level reached the $1 trillion mark.

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