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May 18, 2017

Household debt in the U.S. has reached a new peak north of $12.7 trillion, according to a new report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Student loans account for more than 10 percent of that debt.

The report tells American families what many of them already know: students are leaving college with debt levels they can't necessarily afford.

Researchers at the New York fed say delinquencies of student loans remain “stubbornly high.” 

"This is not tenable,” Nancy Koehn, a professor at Harvard Business School, told WGBH’s Boston Public Radio. “It's not sustainable in the long-term."

"We just can't keep giving students this kind of burden and expecting that they're going to be better off and our society is going to be better off because we're getting lots of talent that can't go where it should or where it wants to because it's circumscribed so narrowly by their indebtedness," Kkoehn said.

Student loans, which average around $30,000 for graduates of four-year colleges, can help make education possible but they can also prevent graduates from buying homes or starting a business.

Earlier: Student Loan Crisis: Rhetoric Or Reality?

confronting cost, increasing access and success

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