We've covered the issue of the nation's huge student loan debt many times before. Many people are way behind on their payments and nearly all of the loans are made by or guaranteed by the federal government. This Wall Street Journal article explains the current situation. Here's an excerpt that describes differences between student loan debt and other consumer debt and the problems student loan debtors face once they fall behind:
Unlike most other types of consumer credit, student debt is extremely difficult to discharge in bankruptcy. After falling behind on payments, a borrower typically finds it harder to obtain other types of consumer loans, or can only do so at higher interest rates… Since the end of 2007, just before the financial crisis hit, total student debt has grown by more than 56%, adjusted for inflation… During that time, overall household debt—including mortgages, student loans, auto loans and credit cards—fell by 18%, to $11.31 trillion as of Sept. 30 [of this year].