Federal subsidized student loans to higher income families nearly tripled in the four years after the start of the recession, according to a report issued this week by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.
At the same time, unsubsidized college loans from the federal government for families making $100,000 a year and above nearly doubled as more young adults staring at a tight job market chose higher education instead and many higher earning couples saw their take-home pay drop as one of the two lost a job, said Megan McClean, the organization’s managing director of policy and federal relations.
McClean added that more families at the upper income limit for the borrowing programs opted for loans as public universities increased tuition, a response to funding cutbacks from state and federal agencies.
“As annual college costs often reach and exceed $30,000, even people who make good incomes can’t put that much towards education every year,” she said.
Subsidized loans to the upper-income-eligible families rose from $380,000 in the 2007-2008 academic year to $1.15 million in the 2011-2012 period. The proportion of the entire subsidized loan pool going to the most affluent of those allowed to participate increased from 6.1 percent to 13.9 percent.
The subsidized student loans are based on financial need, while the unsubsidized ones are not.
With the subsidized loans, the federal government pays the interest that accrues when the students are in school.