Not all educational debt is incurred through student loans, as some use credit cards and others use home equity loans to pay college bills.
Just how pervasive is the state of educational debt in America?
While the topic rages throughout Washington, D.C. as lawmakers try to get a handle on the issue, households throughout the country try to figure the best way to pay for a college education, or two or three.
The Federal Reserve studied the current state of educational debt in its annual study “Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2014”.
According to the report, 23 percent of adults currently have education debt of some kind, including 15 percent that have debt from their own education, 6 percent for the education of their spouse or partner, and 6 percent for the education of their children or grandchildren.
Although much of the student debt was financed through student loans, not all of it was done that way. Fourteen percent of respondents went into education debt using credit card accounts, 5 percent used a home equity loan to pay for education, and 11 percent used some other method to come up with the money needed to pay for education.
Eight percent of those with education debt are behind on their payments, and a majority of those people are those who attended for-profit colleges, those who failed to complete a degree program, and those who were first-generation college students.
And why would someone go into debt for a college education and then not go the distance? Thirty-eight percent said they dropped out due to family responsibilities.
According to the survey, 39 percent of people who completed some level of education beyond high school had some debt to finance that education. Among those who completed at least a bachelor’s degree, 49 percent acquired some debt along the way.
Among those who reported still having some student loan debt, the average combined balance is $35,000 and the median balance is $18,000. Among those who took out loans for their own education, the average current balance is $30,000 and the median is $16,000.
While 8 percent of those with student loan debt are behind on their payments, 39 percent say their loans are in deferment, and 14 percent are in collections on their student loan.
Loan history is vastly different based on what kind of education they paid for and how far they went in their education.
Sixteen percent of borrowers who did not complete their degree or acquire a certificate are behind on their payments, while 17 percent of those who completed a certificate or technical degree are behind. Only 6 percent of those who completed an associate’s degree are behind, 4 percent of bachelor’s degree recipients are behind, and 3 percent of graduate degree recipients are behind on payments.
First-generation college students who took out a student loan are twice as likely to behind on education debt payments as those who had a parent that completed a bachelor’s degree.
While 6 percent of students who attended a public institutions are behind on their student loan payments, 16 percent of those who attended a for-profit institution are behind on payments.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.