From The Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. Department of Education, demonstrating the toll the sour economy is taking on recent college graduates, reported a jump in the student-loan default rate to 6.9%, from 5.2% a year earlier.
Raising the stakes for consumers and taxpayers, the amount that students are borrowing for their education has been increasing dramatically in recent years, with half a trillion dollars in federal student loan debt now outstanding.
Robert Shireman, a senior adviser to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, says he expects the default rate, which reflects the early part of the recession, to continue to rise. “When people are facing a job loss, figuring out how to pay their student loan is not No. 1 on their list,” he said.