The Student Loan Debt Bubble, Curse of the First "Austerity Generation"

Politics / Student Finances Jan 10, 2011 - 08:45 AM
By: Global_Research

Alan Nasser writes: It was announced last summer that total student loan debt, at $830 billion, now exceeds total US credit card debt, itself bloated to the bubble level of $827 billion. And student loan debt is growing at the rate of $90 billion a year.

There are far fewer students than there are credit card holders. Could there be a student debt bubble at a time when college graduates’ jobs and earnings prospects are as gloomy as they have been at any time since the Great Depression?

The data indicate that today’s students are saddled with a burden similar to the one currently borne by their parents. Most of these parents have experienced decades of stagnating wages, and have only one asset, home equity. The housing meltdown has caused that resource either to disappear or to turn into a punishing debt load. The younger generation too appears to have mortgaged its future earnings in the form of student loan debt.

The most recent complete statistics cover 2008, when debt was held by 62 % of students from public universities, 72 % from private nonprofit schools, and a whopping 96 % from private for-profit (“proprietary