April 20, 2011 at 8:17 AM ET
Student loans are now the No.1 debt burden that Americans carry, eclipsing credit card debt for the first time last year, The New York Times reports. The total is expected to hit $1 trillion this year.
Two-thirds of graduates who earned bachelor's degrees left college with debt in 2008, the Times reports, compared with less than half in 1993. The average student owes $24,000, which is usually repaid over 20 years.
Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of FinAid.org and Fastweb.com, who compiled the estimates of student debt, told the Times a large number of Americans "will still be paying off their student loans when it's time for their kids to go to college."
Wondering how close America is to that $1 trillion? FinAid.org has a handy clock that tallies the number. According to the site, the "clock is intended for entertainment purposes only."