Your grandparents, enterprising and hardscrabble dirt farmers that they were, could probably work their way through college with nothing more than a job as a soda jerk at the Moderne Tyme Coca-Cola Soda and Sweetes Fountainne and Heroin Dispensary. Now, though, you would have to actually be a heroin trafficker in order to pay your own way through college. The latest figures on the humongous US student debt load are out. They are not improving.
Virtually every chart in this report from the NY Fed is a tale of looming disaster. "Student debt is the only kind of household debt that continued to rise through the Great Recession." Thirteen percent of borrowers owe more than $50,000. The number of borrowers and their average balance have both risen by 70% since 2004. Seventeen percent of borrowers are more than three months delinquent on their payments. All of these figures have been steadily rising for the better part of a decade now.
College grads do still tend to make more money, so as long as that salary bump stays high enough to justify all those massive loan repayments, the universities of America can continue raising prices while paying their T.A.'s starvation wages.