The Most Indebted Class of College Graduates... Ever

The Wall Street Journal reports that the average college graduate from the class of 2013 will enjoy a lovely $30,000 in student debt.

Total outstanding student-loan debt stood at $986 billion at the end of the first quarter of this year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That’s up 2.1% from the previous quarter and nearly 50% from the same quarter in 2009.

The average debt load for each borrower receiving a bachelor’s degree this year is about $30,000, according to an analysis of government data by Mark Kantrowitz, publisher at student-marketing company Edvisors. That number has doubled over the course of a recent graduate’s lifetime. Even adjusting for inflation, the average debt burden was half that size 20 years ago.

Other groups put the average debt figure even higher. A poll from Fidelity Investments earlier this week found 70% of graduates had at least some debt, and the average was $35,200. That figure is higher in part because it includes debt owed to family and credit-card balances.

Those student loan payments will make it more difficult for graduates to start families, save for retirement, and take the risks that are associated with building a succesful career.

Unfortunate all around, even if it's perhaps unfair to worry about the prospects of the middle and upper middle class. You do need to get a degree, and having a high school education will no longer be sufficient to be succesful in most aspects of the American economy. So yes, college, but it's just getting far more costly to do so.