Middle Age Students Taking Out More Loans
Jan 4th, 2012 @ 8:30 PM by Amber Nelson
Students in the middle-age bracket are accumulating college loan debt at a faster pace than any other age, according to analysis from Reuters, standing as another visible effect of the sluggish economy.
The Reuters data found that while borrowing is up among all student age groups, it has really skyrocketed in the past three year among those who are between ages 35 and 49. Borrowing was up 47 percent for that age category, according to information Reuters obtained from credit tracking firm Credit Karma.
The increase can be attributed, Credit Karma reports, to the turbulent economy that has found many middle-aged Americans laid off and looking for a career change.
“More and more people are going back to school,” said Credit Karma CEO Kenneth Lin. “High unemployment, rising tuition costs, artificially low interest rates from the government, and increased for-profit school advertising… [adds up to] consumers taking on student loan debt at an alarming pace.”
In terms of total average debt, the mid-to-late 20 year olds still take the prize – those aged 26 to 29 carry an average of $14,000 in student loans. Yet those in the 38 to 41 age group are not far behind, with an average debt load of $12,000.
Unfortunately, this rising trend among older borrowers may not necessarily translate into successful results.
“The loans they take are often times more than they can tolerate,” said Mitchell Weiss, co-founder of the Center for Personal Financial Responsibility at the University of Hartford. “They can’t always score a better job to pay for [the loan]… Everybody believes they will get out school, get a job and pay it back. Few really take the time to do the math and decide how much they could afford to borrow.”
Weiss cautions older borrows to make a realistic plan for their education and new career before they start borrowing. Not all educational paths will have the payout necessary to make up for the high cost of student loans. Borrowers have to be smart about going back to school when they have just 15 or 20 years left in their working careers.
Amber Nelson is a seasoned mortgage industry writer and a regular contributor to Loan.com and Mortgage101.com.