Student loan debt reached $1.6 trillion in June of 2020. This is close to 10% of the U.S. gross domestic product. How did we get here, and what options do families have for financing higher education?
Fifty-six percent of adults under the age of 44 have student debt, according to the Pew Research Center. This is the highest share in history. The increase in college costs and the rising importance of a post-secondary education for improving income are a big part of this. Many surveys conducted in recent years have discovered that Millennials share a resistance to debt, no doubt influenced by coming of age during the dot-com crash of 2001 and housing crisis of 2008. Given this, it’s no wonder we often see that younger people want to pay off debt before they save for retirement.