Facts about student loans

College expenses are rising more than ever. As a result a record number of U.S. households carry student loan debt. The average outstanding loan balance of a household is higher than any other time in the history according to the Pew Research Center. One out of every four households (19 percent of total households) or 22.3 million households in 2010 carry a student loan debt. Compare this to 9 percent in 1989 and 15 percent in 2007.

The average outstanding loan balance in 2007 was $23,349 and increased to $26,682 in 2010. The share of households that owe higher student loan debt increased from $54,238 in 2007 to more than $61,894 (adjusted for inflation) in 2010. A staggering 40 percent of households headed by a person younger than 35 years old had a student loan debt.

The student loan debt totaled $904 billion in first quarter 2012. A decade ago it was $241 billion. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau puts the student loan debt balance over $1 trillion.

The student loan debt is rising compared to other loans owed by the households. It increased from 3% in 2007 to 5% in 2010. The main reason for the sharp increase in student loan debt is increase in college enrollment.