Decades of tuition rising faster than the rate of inflation means that more parents are taking out student loans to help their children pay for college.
The average parent borrows $21,000 in student loans for their children's education, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Southern California and the University of South Carolina. The debt comes as these parents are approaching retirement and it is on top of the loans students take out to pay for their own education.
"This debt crisis is not just about students, it's about parents as well," said Jennifer Ailshire, an assistant professor of gerontology at the University of Southern California and co-author of the study. "It paints a dismal picture and we're only at the beginning of this trend."
Parents with a household income of $120,000 or more borrow an average of $30,000 for their children and are more likely to take out student loans, according to Ailshire's research. (See chart below.)