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Student loan write-offs skyrocket as more graduates are struggling to find work

Hire Me -unemployed-college-graduatesIn the first two months of this year, the banking industry wrote off more than $3 billion in student loan debt, a 36 percent increase from the same time period last year.

As the Chicago Tribune reported, Equifax, a credit reporting agency, found that the continued weakness in the labor market is contributing to the steady increase in delinquencies and loan write-offs.

A report from the New York Federal Reserve Bank also revealed that 17 percent of student loan borrowers are more than 90 days late in their repayments. That means 6.8 million federal student loan borrowers are in default — amounting to $85 billion in debt — according to The U.S. Department of Education.

Equifax also found that student lending has increased with more people going back to college and the growing cost of higher education. The price of a four-year undergrad degree has increased by 5.2 percent per year in the last 10 years, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported. And during the economic crisis, student loan debt continued to rise as other forms of debt saw decreases.

But with the continuing unemployment or underemployment situation for many recent grads, it’s no surprise that young people are having trouble paying back their loans on time.

Sadly, an economic recovery isn’t necessarily the answer for recent graduates, either.

As The Wall Street Journal reported, a new paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that as the economy recovers it might not bring more jobs for higher skill and better educated workers. The paper also stated that the peak for college-level jobs as a share of the workforce was in 2000.

A college degree still gives young people an edge on their less-educated peers, with the February unemployment rate for college degree holders at 3.8 percent compared to 7.9 percent for those with just a high school diploma.

But as college grads continue to take jobs as coffee shop baristas and department store employees, the employment market gets even tougher for those who just hold a high school diploma.

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