Why College Students Don't Borrow Enough

06/13/2012 04:07 pm ET

After the months of teeth gnashing and media panic over America's ballooning student debt burden, what I'm about to suggest will strike some readers as a bit ... nuts. But consider this possibility: U.S. undergraduates aren't deep enough in debt. They should take out more loans.

It sounds inconceivable. Outstanding student loans have shot up to around $1 trillion, a roughly four-fold increase since 2003. Thirty-eight percent of undergraduates now borrow for school, and more than half of full-time students do so, according to the most recent Department of Education statistics. The default rate, meanwhile, is increasing.

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