Patt Morrison for March 6, 2012

Student loan debt mounting: could it hurt the U.S. economy?

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Brittany Knotts/KPCC

Many students who graduate from 4-year universities have student loan debt.

Some have called the nation’s rising college debt load a “ticking time bomb” that threatens young adults, their families and the broader economy.

One in 4 borrowers was carrying a past-due student loan balance in the third quarter, according to a new analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Outstanding student loans amount to about $870 billion, which is more than total credit card debt and car loan debt.

“Take it from those of us on the front line of economic distress in America,” said William E. Brewer, president of the National Assn. of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, to the LA Times, “this could very well be the next debt bomb for the U.S. economy.”

WEIGH IN

Do you have outstanding student loans? How badly could this rising debt load impact the U.S. economy?

Guests:

Sylvia A. Allegretto, Ph.D., Economist at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley

William E. Brewer Jr., president, National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorney’s


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