Ethan Pollack & Shayna Solomon
August 2017 | The Aspen Institute

In today’s digitized economy, education is increasingly important and serves as the foundation for workers’ careers and future training opportunities. As work becomes less stable and secure, access to education and training is especially critical. In fact, nearly all jobs created since the Great Recession were filled by workers with at least some post-secondary education.

Yet student loans, the main vehicle used to finance higher education, have left many students with crippling debt. In the last 30 years, the share of young households (adults between 20-40 years old) with student debt has climbed from 14 to 38 percent, and the average 2016 college graduate left school with over $35,000 in student debt. The overall amount of student loan debt now tops $1.4 trillion, the largest amount of consumer debt other than mortgage debt.

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