This Year’s Graduating Class Is The Deepest In Debt Ever

This year’s college graduates have broken the record: not for their achievement, but for their debt. The class of 2016 has more student debt than any other in American history.

This is an unfortunate but unsurprising and worryingly ongoing trend. The class of 2015 was, at the time, the graduating class with the most student debt ever; before that, it was the class of 2014. And so on.

According to a report from Policy.Mic, based on data from the U.S. Department of Education's National Postsecondary Student Aid Study, “over 70% of the graduating class of 2016 took on an average of about $37,000 in student loans to finance their degree.” Nearly 72% of students in America today have to take on debt in pursuit of an education, thanks to a fatal cocktail of increasing costs and decreased government funding for our educational system. This doesn’t apply only to pricier private institutions, either, as most college students attend public institutions, whose costs have also substantially rose in the past few decades.

The consequences are legion, and they are frightening. It takes the average student about 20 years to pay off their loans, accounting for interest rates multiplying the initial cost of their education over time. This not only compromises the cost of living here and now, it’s saddled graduates so that they’re unable to put away as much money into savings for the future.

In light of this crisis, Bloomberg reported on a poll which says 1 in 5 students spend some of their student loan payouts for fun things like vacations and going out, as if that has any bearing in a lifetime hindered by debt.