So Much Student Debt, So Much Ignorance

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By Annamaria Lusardi

It will come as no surprise that a lot of people are burdened by education-related debt. What may be surprising is how few of those people even know the terms of that debt.

This is one of the findings of a survey released today by the National Financial Capability Study (NFCS). The study, which I co-authored, found that nearly half (45%) of those aged 18 to 34 owes on at least one loan (for themselves or family members) and more than a quarter of Americans aged 35 to 54 have student loans.

Indeed, the number of student loan borrowers has almost doubled in the past 10 years, from 23 million to the current 43 million borrowers, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  And the amount of total student-loan debt has soared, shooting from $240 billion at the start of 2003 to more than $1.3 trillion today.

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