The number of people 60 and older with student loan debt has quadrupled in the past decade, but it's not what you might be thinking. These aren't old loans: The vast majority are loans taken out by parents or grandparents to finance education opportunities for young people, with 73 percent of borrowers over 60 reporting that their student loan debt is owed "for a child's and/or grandchild's education."
Older Americans now represent the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. student loan market, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. As of 2015, more than 2.8 million Americans over 60 had outstanding student loan debt — up from some 700,000 in 2005.
The average amount owed has also increased dramatically. In 2005, the average amount owed by borrowers 60 and older was about $12,000; by 2015, it was more than $23,000.