As the federal government attempts to ease the burden on the American student loan system, a new report by Credit Suisse shows that some students have little or no idea how much they owe.
The report, based on the credit scores of about 30 million Americans, said that students are taking on more debt than ever and have not been paying back their loans for many years.
The problem isn’t unique to the U.S., the report said.
Credit Suisex, the credit-reporting company, said the total debt burden for American consumers is projected to grow to $1.3 trillion by 2026.
The average American student has $40,000 in outstanding student loans, the report showed.
The average student’s credit score is only 5.4, far below the average for Americans in general.
But the study found that students have more debt relative to their income than other groups, particularly minorities and low-income students.
About 37 percent of students owe more than $50,000, compared to 26 percent of whites, 11 percent of African Americans and 4 percent of Hispanics.
The biggest contributor to the growing debt load for students is a lack of education, the study said.
More than two-thirds of students surveyed said they did not have a college degree or did not graduate from high school, the survey found.
The study showed that students with some college experience were the least likely to have credit scores below 5.0.
The study found students with a bachelor’s degree or higher earned higher credit scores than students with high school diplomas or less.