Student Loan Debt Clock as of Aug. 29, 3:40 p.m.Are you a recent graduate from college fretting about your looming student loan payments and your inability to find a job? Now there's a "fun" new way to keep tabs on the ever-increasing debt burden on young people who are entering the same student loan hell that you are.

Mark Kantrowitz of FinAid.org has set up a student loan debt clock that allows you to keep tabs on the pile of both federal and private student loan debt that is afflicting America -- weighing students down with debt that prevents them from pursuing careers they're passionate about and that, in the worst-case scenario, can literally ruin their financial lives if they go into default.

Mesmerizing to Watch the Debt Rise

Student loan levels increase rapidly just before semesters begin as students borrow to pay their tuition bills, Kantrowitz notes. The clock is "for entertainment purposes only," the site says. Kantrowitz adds in an email that the debt figure is "kind of mesmerizing" to watch.

In a phone interview, Kantrowitz explained some of the math behind the clock, noting that the equation takes into account both new loans being made and old loans being paid off, which decrease the total amount of debt outstanding. The reason the clock grows by a couple thousand dollars per second is simple: Current students are borrowing money much faster than former students are paying it back.

In 2010, Kantrowitz estimates that the government will make about $100 billion in federal loans -- and receive just $22 billion in principal payments, leading to a net increase of $78 billion per year. That doesn't even include private loans.

Between this student debt clock, the Cost of Wars calculator and the national debt clock, you no longer even need to watch the news to know how financially messed up we are.


Zac Bissonnette's book Debt-Free U: How I Paid For an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching Off My Parents will be published by Portfolio/Penguin on Aug. 31.

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jkint3245

DO NOT WORRY PEOPLE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO TAKE OVER STUDENT LOANS! Whew I feel so much better. Time for the student loan program to fail as well. OBAMA Your policies are so lame and socialist you are a traitor!

August 30 2010 at 2:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Beetle

Sallie Mae is evil.

August 30 2010 at 2:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
QualEngPro

Why should this be a surprise to anyone? A large part of the student debt is incurred by students brainwashed into thinking that they have to spend $50,000 per year to get a liberal arts degree from an elite college in order to be "worthy". This attitude has been promoted by the same folks who have trained our current batch of liberal politicians (and media types) who think we can spend our way out of a recession. The same "educated" elites who told us that if we spent $800 BILLION dollars on a make-work program, that unemployment wouldn't go over 8 percent. I feel SO much better knowing that all these "smart" people are looking out for us.

August 30 2010 at 2:04 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to QualEngPro's comment
rcpjobsaz

Good thing you didn't mention how smart George W. Bush was with his Yale degree, because everyone knows that only liberals who graduate from elite colleges are stupid.

August 30 2010 at 3:21 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
yokoach

that's an amazing number....what's happening with all these deadbeats? they could handle the national debt just by paying it back...let's put some debt collectors to new jobs tracking these people down and having them pay

August 30 2010 at 1:54 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to yokoach's comment
melspldng

"These people" are young kids in their 20s who can't find a job, have no assets, and eat ramen noodles 3 times a day. Yeah, that's a great idea. Let's make young kids fix what our parents and grandparents screwed up.

August 30 2010 at 2:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mrbills10

school loans cant be declared under bankruptcy laws...that and IRS debt

August 30 2010 at 1:51 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
msg8400

Well, dah, the military pays for four years of school. All you have to do is serve your country for four years. If student loan debtors would fess up, I bet less than half of the loans went to actually pay tuition, books, etc. Aside from the military, how about attendance on a pay as you can. Take two course instead of four you would have to take to receive the loan. It is just easier to blame everyone else instead of takin personal responsibility for our own actions once we are considered adults.

August 30 2010 at 1:03 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
megan

My goal is to graduate with the amount of debt of buying a lower end new car. So far it's working. I'm half way through college and only have $2500 in student debt, which is good because I think my luck of receiving scholarships will run out soon. My advice: save up through high school, go to community college, and then transfer to state college. It's worked for me so far.

August 30 2010 at 12:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jabaileydc

I don't need a "real time" clock to let me know that the $140,000.00 debt I have now will become $350,000.00 by the time it's paid off (if I ever CAN pay it off!) Where's my bail out? Those who are considering entering the medical field, DON'T DO IT!!!! The reimbursement that insurance companies pay will not afford you a living!

August 30 2010 at 12:37 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jabaileydc's comment
cutie1986

same goes for law school.. definitely NOT worth it!!

August 30 2010 at 1:13 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Laurel

This debacle should be called "How to Destroy a Country from Within by Waging War on the Middle Class." My mother went to school for free at City College of NY in the 1950s where any resident could go for free if they maintained a decent grade point average. We used to have grants and scholarships for students to attend college, grad school, and even med school, and state colleges were affordable. Then Reagan came and started changing all the grants to loans, and the amount students could borrow kept increasing while federal grants kept being cut. It's too bad I don't believe in hell because Reagan deserves to fry for what he has done to generations of Americans. We need to declare amnesty for all these people mired in debt, tax the rich at 1980 levels, and bring back the grants and scholarships. Otherwise, welcome to the US, the newest Third World country.

August 30 2010 at 12:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Laurel's comment
dessoli16

If that is what they are teaching you in college, stop going. Taxing the rich will never work because they will eventually run out of money. You need to grow up and live in the real world before making such stupid comments.

August 30 2010 at 1:01 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
shibley04

I belive that the presidents following Reagan could have reversed the situation. Like OB is letting the tax laws reverse. Where was Cliton when they could reverse?

August 30 2010 at 2:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bluejay4a

Where are the parents in all this? Give the guidance your kids need, don't let them make a stupid "educated" mistake. If they graduate with this much dept, they will NEVER catch up. Stay out of debt, live within your means and sleep well.

August 30 2010 at 12:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply