It’s no secret that student loans are a seemingly constant source of stress and financial hardship for many borrowers, long after graduation and well into adulthood, and the latest report from global information services giant Experian notes that these financial stresses show no sign of slowing down. In 2017, student loan debt in the United States has reached a total of $1.4 trillion, a whopping 149% increase over the past decade and an all-time high in the country’s history.
The report goes on to cite that consumers with educational debt have an average of 3.7 student loans which they’ll have to manage and repay over their lifetimes, up from 2.4 loans per student borrower in 2007. Coupled with other debts and financial obligations, student loan borrowers find themselves with an average VantageScore credit rating of 650, 25 points below the national average of 675 for consumers who don’t have student loans.
Yet while Experian found that student debt balances and the number of borrowed student loans have never been greater, the report shows that more consumers are managing their debt effectively than at any point in the past ten years. The percentage of consumers with past-due or delinquent payments on student loans (90-180 days) shrunk from 9.2% in 2007 and 9.9% in 2009 to just 8.9% in 2017.
One way students are managing their debt is by lowering the cost of their loans by taking advantage of student loan refinancing options (and the inspiration for how Laurel Road decided to support graduates) and focusing on climbing out of student debt to improve their credit scores.
With these strategies, the next generation of college students may be the best-equipped to handle rising tuition costs.
View the full infographic from Experian’s State of Student Loan Debt 2017 report.