Americans now owe nearly $1.2 trillion in student loans. The level of debt continues to rise even though the number of active borrowers has gone down since 2010. And even though millennials are the poster generation for student debt, they don't actually hold most of it.
Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York just released some new research based on Equifax credit-report data on repayment rates of student loans. Here are a few things they found:
1. Most people aren't paying off their student loans.
At the end of 2014, only 37 percent of all 43.3 million borrowers nationwide were making payments on time and reducing their loan balances.
About one-third of borrowers had growing debt, likely because they were taking out more loans to pay for more education. Some borrowers were enrolled in programs that allowed them to defer repaying their loans, and 17 percent of borrowers had fallen behind on their payments.
2. This isn't just a young person's problem.
Two-thirds of the nation's student-loan debt is held by people over age 30. The economists found that 30- and 40-somethings have the highest loan balances of all borrowers—an average of about $31,000, compared with the overall average of $26,000.