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More and more Americans are drowning in debt. About 44.7 million Americans currently have student debt, and in 2017 they owed more than $1.3 trillion in student loans—more than two and a half times what they owed 10 years earlier. Meanwhile, it takes them an average of 21 years to pay off that debt.
In our September/October 2018 issue, writer Ryann Liebenthal investigates the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program—and how some of its enrollees may never actually see their loans forgiven despite years of payments. It’s a rage-inducing story about America’s student debt machine and the ways in which borrowers are often cast aside by their loan companies.
One of the many issues with student loans is that borrowers often don’t get a sense of how much they’ll actually have to pay back. Interest rates, even at seemingly low amounts, can lead to borrowers paying back far more than they originally took out. We’ve built a calculator that can help you see just how much you might be paying in interest.
We would also like to hear from you: How are you reacting to these numbers? What questions do you have about your debt? We’ll work on answering some of these questions in a follow-up story.
Adam Vieyra and Rowan Walrath contributed to the interactive.