Michael Burrell

Student debt is a big reason why many millennials have delayed buying their first home. Now, the country’s student loan issue just hit a new milestone, MarketWatch staffer Jillian Berman reports.

According to the Federal Reserve, outstanding student debt reached $1.521 trillion in the first quarter of 2018. It was the first time student debt has hit the $1.5 trillion mark. Ten years ago, student debt was about $600 billion.

“People pay attention to milestones,” said Mark Kantrowitz, a financial aid expert. When student debt surpassed $1 trillion in 2012, “it definitely caused a shift in coverage of student loans in the news media,” he said. In theory, that helps raise awareness of the issue for student advocates, lawmakers and, in particular, borrowers when considering what college to attend. But Kantrowitz added, “What’s more important is the impact on individual borrowers.”

Kantrowitz’s data indicates that college graduates leave school with about $37,000 in debt on average and as many as one in six college graduates will leave school with debt that exceeds their income.

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