Student loan have surged to a new high, hitting $166.4 billion late last year but an education researcher says there are ways to address the problem.
According to policy analyst Mary Clare Amselem of The Heritage Foundation, a student loan is considered delinquent after nothing is paid on it for 90 days or longer.
She says there are a number of reasons why the problem continues to soar.
"One might be that these students are unemployed,” she says, “which begs the question are colleges adequately preparing their students for work after college that would enable them to pay off these loans.”
A second cause could be the loans are simply too high considering the salaries students earn after graduation.
One solution would be to significantly roll back the federal student loan program, she offers, and open student loans up to private lenders.
"If you have a competitive, private student loan market, this pushes college prices down and allows students to take out loans for a good price for exactly the education they will be receiving."
The total student loan debt now stands at nearly $1.5 trillion dollars, more than Americans owe on mortgages or on credit cards, according to Amselem.