Debt isn’t just a burden for older adults anymore. Recently, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that America’s total student loan debt has reached an all-time high of more than $1 trillion, surpassing the nation’s credit card debt, and comprising more than 6 percent of the US gross domestic product. With nearly 50 million Americans carrying student loan debt (equal to the number collecting Social Security), the high cost of higher education touches most US households.
Yet, for some, entrance to college, once a near-guaranteed ticket to upward social mobility and elite career opportunities, has become a pathway to prolonged financial distress. For instance, a typical 2010 college graduate collected a diploma alongside more than $25,000 in debt and entered one of the most dismal job markets in recent history.