Student debt is no longer just a young persons’ issue. As of December 2018, approximately 8.4 million Americans aged 50 and older owe $289.5 billion in student loans, approximately 20% of total student loan debt. This represents a 512% increase from the $47.3 billion owed by that cohort in 2004, making the growth of student loan debt among older borrowers the greatest among any age group.
A 2017 analysis by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reveals that from 2012 to 2017, total student loan debt for borrowers aged 60 and above increased by 72% in New Jersey, 107% in Pennsylvania, and 146% in Delaware. Many of the growing number of older borrowers face challenges that make them more reliant on their loan servicers for assistance and more vulnerable to misrepresentations by those servicers.
The data also shows that record numbers of older student loan borrowers are struggling with repayment. Delinquency rates for student loan borrowers over 60 has jumped by 80-106% in the Northeast United States. Typically, student loans are often a bigger problem here in the Southeast, so I would guess Florida’s delinquency rate has increased at least 100% from five years ago. AARP reports that federal student loan borrower defaults increase with age. In 2015, approximately 29% of federal student loan borrowers between 50 and 64 were in default; for borrowers aged 65 and above, the default rate rate rose to 37% The default rates for those below 50 is 17% – still high unfortunately.