About half of those who took out college loans and are no longer in school (48%) say that paying back the loan has made it harder to make ends meet; 25% say it has made it harder to buy a home; 24% say it has had an impact on the kind of career they are pursuing; and 7% say it has delayed their getting married or starting a family.

A growing share of undergraduates take out student loans, and a rising share of families have outstanding student loans they are paying back. Outstanding student loan debt is now about 5% of all outstanding debt in the household sector—more than double its share a decade ago.

The cost of a college education—at both public and private institutions—has roughly tripled since 1980 in inflation-adjusted dollars. The typical student who graduates from a four-year college with an outstanding loan starts out with a record balance of $23,000. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.