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CFPB: Student debt swells, federal loans now top a trillion

Rohit Chopra is the CFPB’s Student Loan Ombudsman. This post is excerpted from prepared remarks before a conference hosted by the Center for American Progress on July 17, 2013, in Washington, DC.

“While there has been considerable attention by policymakers on federal student loan interest rates taken out for the 2013-2014 academic year, outstanding student loan debt owed by existing borrowers continues to swell. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates that outstanding debt is approaching $1.2 trillion as of May 2013. We also estimate that student loans guaranteed or held by the federal government have now crossed the $1 trillion mark. Last year, the Bureau released findings based on our research on the student loan market, revealing that total outstanding student loans were approximately $1 trillion as of the end of 2011. The 20% growth in student loan debt from the end of 2011 to May 2013 has been much faster than growth in revolving credit products (predominantly credit cards), which increased from $843 billion to $857 billion – an increase of less than 2%. Student loans now comprise the second largest form of consumer debt behind home mortgages.”

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