Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Orlando's student loan debt is growing faster than anywhere else in the country

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2019 at 12:46 PM

Student loan debt in Florida is out of control.

In fact, according to a study produced by the credit rating agency Experian, Florida's college students' debt is growing faster than anywhere else in the country, from $32.3 billion in the third quarter in 2008 to $89.4 billion at the same period in 2018 – overall, a 177 percent difference.

Only four states were ranked ahead of Florida, including Georgia (190 percent), Kentucky (228 percent), North Carolina (253 percent) and South Carolina, which led with a sobering percentage change of 315 percent.

The study's narrowing down to the city level provides less reassurance, too, especially in Orlando, which leads the country. Between the third quarter of 2008 and the same time period in 2018, student debt in Orlando ballooned by 198 percent, from $4.2 billion to $12.6 billion.

That's bad. Really bad.

So what's the deal? Florida has a high influx of people moving here, and with them comes the student debt they've accumulated. On the hyper-local scale: Last year, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, for the second year in a row, the Orlando metropolitan area – which includes Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake counties – ranked eighth nationally in growth, with a population of roughly 2.51 million. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, since 2010, the area has seen growth of about 14.6 percent each year.

It's also worth pointing out that government grants for students have decreased in recent years. Compare that to stagnant wage growth – even though the U.S. economy has maintained itself in recent years – you can better understand how the student debt numbers have continued booming.

So are the expenses that come with college worthwhile?

That depends on your definition of the word "worthwhile."

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