It’s not just millennials and recent college graduates drowning in student loans anymore, a good portion of seniors in their 60s are now too.
According to a new report by The Wall Street Journal, Americans in the 60 plus age group owe more than $86 billion in student loan debt.
While that number is still small in comparison to the more than $1.48 trillion in overall student loan debt, spread out among about 44 million borrowers around the country, according to statistics from the Student Loan Hero, it is still notable—and growing.
Using data from credit-reporting firm TransUnion, the Journal found that the average senior student loan borrowers owed around $33,800 in 2017, up 44 percent from 2010.
And, what’s more, overall student loan debt rose 161 percent for people aged 60 and older from 2010 to 2017—the biggest increase for any age group, the report noted.
However, the most alarming part of the study, is that in fiscal year 2015, more than 40,000 people aged 65 and older had to hand over their Social Security benefits, tax refunds, or other federal payments after they defaulted on either their student or parent loan debt. That number is a 362 percent increase from a decade prior, the Journal said referencing data from the Government Accountability Office.
Many of these seniors with debt either took out loans to help pay for their children’s college education or took out a student loan for themselves. The Journal noted that during the last recession in 2008, many older Americans went back to school in hopes of boosting their appeal to potential employers.