More people are borrowing more money to pay for college each year. Total student loan debt reached $1.44 trillion this year, held by 44.2 million borrowers nationwide, according to federal government figures. In Wisconsin, there are about 1 million people who together hold more than $19 billion in student loan debt, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Education, the country’s largest student lender.
Decades ago, students could pay for college tuition and living expenses by working throughout school and during summers. Now, college is so expensive — up 237 percent for in-state tuition at public universities since 1997 — that many students are only able to go if they take out loans.
Even with the best attempts at financial planning, changing regulations and compounding interest have made college debt a heavy burden for many borrowers.