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Student loan debt up 84 percent since 2008

New Hampshire residents with student loans are among those most likely to make timely payments according to the credit reporting agency Experian. Other states that scored well for student loan repayment in the September 2014 report were Vermont, Massachusetts, Minnesota and North Dakota. However, the credit agency also found that the level of student debt had risen sharply since the 2008 financial crisis, which has led to significant financial challenges for many Americans as they struggle to pay the loans that they took on in college.

Experian found that this kind of debt has almost doubled since 2008. The 84 percent increase means that more money is now owed on student debt than on car loans or credit cards. This is largely due to a continuing increase in the cost of college tuition even while the economy sank into recession. The research indicates that 40 million people have at least one open student loan, and most have many more. According to Experian, the average amount owed is $29,000.

Previous studies have found that one in three student loans could be delinquent, and legislators have proposed a number of laws to tackle the problem. Proposals include providing a method for student loans to be refinanced at lower rates of interest and regulations that would make the disclosure of loan terms clearer for borrowers.

Many individuals and families face severe financial challenges through no fault of their own. Bills can quickly become unmanageable due to a layoff or illness, and creditor harassment can make the situation even more difficult. While student loans may not usually be discharged in bankruptcy, other forms of unsecured debt can. An attorney with bankruptcy law experience may be able to explain the merits of the various debt relief options available. This could help those struggling with student debt choose a path toward a financial fresh start.

Source: Consumerist.com, "Report: 40 Million Consumers Have At Least One Student Loan", Ashlee Kieler , September 09, 2014

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