Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 3.
Millennials will be able to pay back their student loans. It's just going to take a while.
According to a survey by Citizens Bank, 75% of all Americans and 80% of Millennials (ages 18 to 34) worry about their ability to pay back their student loans. There's a reason that the latter is having so much trouble. The average 2016 college graduate is carrying $37,172 in student loan debt, according to college and scholarship site Cappex. That up 6% from last year, with debt carried by 70.1% of all graduates.
That's also up from $12,759 two decades ago, when just 54% of all students graduated with debt. That said, Millennials have plenty of company. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, total student loan debt reached $1.26 trillion by the end of June. That's up $69 billion from a year earlier and is the second largest pile of U.S. consumer debt behind mortgage debt (at $8.36 trillion, up $246 billion from a year ago). More than one in ten (11.1%) student loans are past due. That's a worse delinquency rate that for credit card bills, of which 7.2% are past due.
A job market that's been slow to recover from the recession hasn't helped, either. Though the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the current unemployment rate at 5%, that jumps to 9.2% for people ages 20 to 24 -- or roughly the age of most recent college graduates. Only 70.7% of people that age are an active part of the workforce, compared to nearly 81% of those between 25 and 54.