Infographic: In tough job market, student debt grows

Recent grads are caving under the weight of their student loans. A January 2013 TransUnion study reveals that more than half of student loan accounts are in deferment, which provides a temporary reprieve from repayments. That brings the balance of deferred loans up to $338 billion -- 43.5 percent of all student loan balances.

The average debt load per individual is growing as well. From 2007 to 2012, average student loan balances increased by 30 percent, from $18,379 to $23,829, the study found.

With many recent graduates unemployed, frustrated with the job market or heading back to school to embark on a different career, mounting student loan balances are no surprise, said Ezra Becker, vice president of research and consulting at TransUnion's financial services business unit.

"However, the rate of growth we observed was truly eye-opening," he said.

Growing student debt

See related: Student loan debt: the next time bomb?

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Updated: 03-21-2019