BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- We've all heard the figures: Student loan debt in the United States now exceeds $1 trillion dollars, surpassing our nation's collective credit card debt. Yet, unlike our credit card debt -- or any other debt, for that matter -- student loans for the most part cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. A report released in August by the Center for American Progress, though, calls for that to change. increased by 440% in the past 25 years -- four times the rate of inflation. And yet a federal Pell Grant, which does not have to be repaid, now covers less than 34% of tuition for students from low- and modest-income families, as compared with nearly 70% in 1980. College students now graduate with an average of $26,000 of debt, and about 45% of American families owe some student loan debt.