You either have student debt, just paid it off, or you know someone who has student debt. And the amount of student debt just keeps climbing and climbing. But there's a number of factors behind that increase.
Over the past 6 years, student loan applications dropped by 20%. But student loan debt still increased by $500 billion. So what's happening? The cost of education keeps rising 3% per year. But there are even more problems with the design of some of these plans. The income-driven plans, that the department of education offers, lower payments for graduates depending on their income. But they don't decrease interest rates. So borrowers are seeing the debt increase over time, even though they're making regular payments.
The department of education also offers a forgiveness program that could cost the government anywhere between $74 - $90 billion. If borrowers stay current over the course of 20 - 25 years the federal government pays off the remaining debt. That provides an incentive for borrowers to make the smallest possible monthly payments. Government officials are trying to figure out where the money will come from