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U.S. Student-Loan Balances Increase 55% Since 2005

Senator Charles Grassley
“I’m gravely concerned that accountability is severely lacking," said Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican from Iowa. Photographer: Brendan Hoffman/Bloomberg

The average loan balance for U.S. college students has increased 55 percent to $24,301 since 2005, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The number of student loan borrowers increased 59 percent to 37.1 million in the first quarter from the same period seven years ago, according to data released today and posted on the bank’s website. While 68 percent of borrowers are 39 and younger, the number for people ages 50 to 59 doubled to 4.6 million. Those 60 and over tripled to 2.2 million.

Outstanding U.S. educational debt reached $1 trillion earlier this year, topping the amount Americans owe on their credit cards, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. More students are borrowing to pay for college and are taking out larger amounts as tuition costs have climbed faster than the rate of inflation.

The New York Fed report is based a sample of data provided by the Equifax Inc. credit bureau.

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