A new tool lets you watch the country's collected student debt pile up in real time.
Sponsored by FinAid.org, the Student Loan Debt Clock tallies an estimate of total private and federal outstanding student debt. According to FinAid, now is peak time for debt growth, as more student loans are doled out at the semester's start.
As the report's author (and FinAid and FastWeb publisher) Mark Kantrowitz discovered:
Student loan debt outstanding totaled at least $830 billion as of June 2010, with roughly $665 billion in federal education loans and $168 billion in private student loans. The President's FY2011 budget reports actual federal education loans totaling $605.648 billion as of FY2009. The first nine months of FY2010 involved approximately $59 billion in additional federal student loan debt.
The New York Times has more on how Kantrowitz calculated the debt clock's algorithm:
He started with the government figure for total federal and direct loans outstanding at the end of fiscal year 2009 of $605 billion. Then he estimated how much private loan debt was outstanding as of June 2010, and added an increment to account for the growth in federal loan debt from September 2009 to June 2010.
He came up with a starting figure of $830 billion in private and federal loans outstanding as of June 2010, which he further estimated was growing by about $2,854 a second.