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Debt problems grow worse for college students

Maria Gomez, 26, left, graduates from UCLA with her master's degree in architecture.
(Christina House / For The Times)

Families aren’t saving enough for college, students are falling deeper into debt and nearly 13% of graduates owe more than $50,000, according to new research.

The bottom line of the research, gleaned from a pair of new studies, is that college-debt woes continue to worsen despite all the attention focused on the ballooning debt of America’s young people.

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An analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that the number of students taking out college loans, and the amount they borrowed, both grew 70%, or roughly 7% a year, from 2004 and 2012.

About 17% of graduates have fallen behind on their loans by more than 90 days, compared with fewer than 10% in 2004, according to the report.

Altogether, outstanding loan balances total nearly $1 trillion.

And being saddled with student debt appears on its way to becoming a new American rite of passage.

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Among 25-year-olds, more than 4 in 10 are weighed down with loans, up from a little more than 25% in 2004, the report said.

Another report, by student-loan company Sallie Mae, showed that half of families with children aren’t saving for college. That’s a drop-off from 2010, when 60% were squirreling away savings.

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And families who do put away money aren’t even meeting their own savings goals.

The average family plans to save nearly $40,000 by the time a child packs up for college, but is on track to save only about half that amount, according to the study.

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Report: How to make student loans easier and cheaper

Student-loan delinquency rate hits danger zone, report says

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Follow Walter Hamilton on Twitter @LATwalter


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