student loan bubble burst
Business has been good for the federal government when it comes to student loans.
Over the past five years, student loans have generated profits of $120 billion for the Department of Education.
And the latest projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) put the take from student loans for the 2013 fiscal year at $48.6 billion - helped along by a change in 2010 that eliminated the middleman and made the Education Department the direct lender for all government-backed loans.
It means the government will reap more in profits from student loans this year than any of the nation's largest corporations. Last year, for example, the most profitable company was ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), which reported income of $44.9 billion.
The money is rolling in partly because the Education Department has stepped up efforts to collect on delinquent loans, but mostly because the U.S. government can borrow money far more cheaply than the students to whom it is giving the loans.
The government's student loans now carry an interest rate of 3.4%, which has proved plenty lucrative.
But unless Congress acts soon, the interest rate on government student loans will double to 6.8% as of July 1. (The temporary 3.4% rate was supposed to expire last July, but last year Congress extended it for one year.)
Meanwhile, 10-year Treasuries go for about 2%, and 30-year Treasuries for about 3%.
That widening gap in rates could drive government profits even higher, but at the risk of appearing to exploit a struggling and vulnerable segment of the population.
"As the pomp of graduation fades, many college graduates become keenly aware of their financial circumstance: in debt," Ernie Almonte, chairman of the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission of the American Institute of CPAs, said in a statement. "They start out with an anchor that slows their progression toward future goals. It's a difficult reality confronting a growing number of people."
The Scary Reality of the Student Loan Bubble in 5 Charts
The explosion of the student loan bubble could lead to the next financial crisis in the United States, says a new federal report -which highlights the growing problem in these alarming new charts.
As of 2012, about $1 trillion was tied up in student loans - more than the total amount of credit card debt in the nation, the report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said.The majority of the student loans are backed by the federal government, which means the public bears most of the risk associated with student loans.
And those loans are looking riskier by the day.
The Student Loan Bubble is the Next Subprime
Don't look now but there's another giant bubble out there. It's so big it rivals subprime.
I'm talking about the student loan bubble.
Recently, the outstanding volume of student loans passed $1 trillion. What's more bothersome is that the average individual amount owed by new college graduates has passed $25,000.
With college costs zooming upwards faster than inflation, this is rapidly becoming another subprime mortgage-like sinkhole.
Just like subprime, the problem is that people of modest means are being suckered by high-pressure salesmen into taking on too much debt.
The difference is that since student loans are government guaranteed and can't be released in bankruptcy, the burdens will be paid by the unfortunate ex-students and the U.S. taxpayer.
The standard justification for soaring higher education costs is a simple one.
The United States needs to maintain an educational lead in order for its wage levels to remain above those of its competitors.
I'm talking largely about emerging markets, which have been helped enormously by modern communications, making global sourcing much easier than it was.
There are two problems with this view.
To continue reading, please click here...