The new toll of student debt in 3 charts

Source: Tara Siegel Bernard & Karl Russell, N.Y.Times (Paid Registration)

A new analysis of federal loan data indicates that the average student’s debt load is plateauing, and perhaps even declining slightly, at least when adjusted for inflation.

That should be welcome news, except that it comes with a major asterisk: College has not become more affordable, but more students seeking bachelor’s degrees, especially at higher-cost colleges, have borrowed as much as they can under the federal loan program.  As a result, the analysis suggests, many parents are going deeper into debt to pay for their children’s education.

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