Student loans are famously a great big problem for Americans, having recently surpassed $1 trillion and now overtaking credit card debt.

But it’s going to get worse. According to an analysis by consulting firm Hamilton Place Strategies, if trends continue by 2023 average student debt will equal the median income earned by college graduates. Here’s how it looks:


Wow. This is happening because, while college fees are rising more and more every year, college graduates’ incomes are basically not moving.

According to the paper, college tuition and fees have increased more than 200 percent since 1974. Wages have been growing much slower. Indeed, in the last decade college graduates incomes have declined by 5 percent.

All of this is not to say that college isn’t “worth it.” As the paper points out, college graduates still earn a whole hell of a lot more than everyone else.

But that’s not much consolation for future college students. Basically, if we don’t find a way to keep college costs down, we’re just going to be paying a lot more money for the same outcome. [Graph via]

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer