Almost all Americans have at least some credit card debt, however according to USAToday.com the total student loan debt exceeds credit card debt in the country. As of June, the consumers in the country carry a total balance of $828 billion of credit card debt, while students owe an astounding $850 billion in loan debt.
Oddly, some students don't even know how much they owe — or to whom.
"I'm scared to know," said Carla George, 20, of Detroit, a junior majoring in biology at Wayne State University. She knows that her mother, at one point borrowed about $10,000 through a federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students. The PLUS loan lets parents borrow for costs not covered by a financial aid package.
George estimates that she has taken out at least $10,000 in other loans.
"I think it's a whole bunch more," she said.
A college diploma and a good job are supposed to be the payoff for years of hard work in school. But for thousands of today's students, there's going to be a payback, too — as those loans come due after graduation.
Some college students are failing financially long before they get a diploma — or a ‘grown-up’ paycheck.
"Students are far worse off today with student loan debt," said Alan Collinge, who runs a website called StudentLoanJustice.org, where students discuss their troubles with college loans.
With tuition far outpacing inflation for the past 20 years, student borrowing has continued to grow — a whopping 25% last year. Some students who are borrowing never expected to, but their parents have lost jobs or suffered other financial setbacks in the recession.