Student Enrollment Dropped 11% Since 2011, Student-Loan Balances Surged 74%. Why?

by Wolf Richter
Wolf Street

What’s Behind the Screwed-Up Student Loan Fiasco?

Enrollment in higher education in the United States has dropped by 11% from the peak in 2011. That’s a drop of 2.2 million students over the span of eight years, according to data from the Student Clearing House.

But over the same period, when student enrollment dropped 11%, student loan balances have skyrocketed 74%, to $1.6 trillion. The biggest portion of these loans is held by the federal government. It funded them by increasing its own debt.

So what’s going on here with this 11% decline in enrollment since 2011, and the crazy 74% surge in student-loan balances?

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