Student Debt Rising Worldwide

Postsecondary education, regarded as essential in a competitive global job market, is credited for increasing prosperity for individuals and their communities. Greater numbers of students pursue higher education, but rising costs of college force many to rely on loans. Tuition for attending a public college varies – free in 40 countries like Brazil or Germany and thousands of dollars in the United States and the United Kingdom. The average student loan debt is $37,000 in the United States and $55,000 in the United Kingdom; even students in Sweden, where tuition is free, leave with an average debt of about $20,000. The struggle to fund college is particularly tough for students from rural areas and developing nations. Governments must weigh the arguments of citizens who favor higher rates of taxation to fund education programs and loan forgiveness versus those who support private lending and tough repayment enforcement. Demographer Joseph Chamie warns that the rising costs and growing debt could slow economies as many young adults delay decisions to marry, purchase homes or start families while others forgo higher education altogether.