Mid-life borrowers pile on student debt

Middle-aged students are piling up student debt faster than any other age group, according to a CreditKarma analysis, Reuters reports.

People of all ages are borrowing more for college but those between 35 and 49 — Reuters’ definition of “middle aged” — owe 47 percent more than in the past.

While those aged 26 to 29 owe the most — an average of $12,000 — borrowers aged 38 to 41 aren’t far behind at $12,000.

More people are seeking mid-career training, says Credit Karma CEO Kenneth Lin.

“More and more people are going back to school,” he says. “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.”

Every story like this includes at least one example, but Reuters found someone a bit different. Atlantan Janice Derrick, laid off as an executive assistant at 47, did something that few people seem to do. The math.

Unable to find an office job of any kind, Derrick took an aptitude test, which concluded she was suited to be a social worker or school counselor.

But she did the math and realized the low salary expectations and the amount of additional schooling weren’t a great combination.

She borrowed $25,000 to train as a court reporter, got her license and says there are many openings. The median salary of a court reporter is $51,101, according to Salary.com.

It’s too easy to get student loans, says Mitchell Weiss, co-founder of the Center for Personal Financial Responsibility at the University of Hartford. “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,” he says.


POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON January 5, 2012

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[…] People between 35 and 49 are piling up student debt faster than any other age group. Mid-career training doesn’t always pay off. Do the math before borrowing, say financial advisors. […]

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