Forty-four million Americans hold a total of $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. According to the Federal Reserve, the average amount of debt held by student loan borrowers is $32,731, and the average monthly amount due is $393.
Of these borrowers, 19 percent are behind on their payments.
If you miss a payment on your federal student loans, you have 270 days to make a payment before your debt goes into default. More than 3,000 people default on their federal student loans every day.
Once federal student debt is in default, the government is able to garnish your wages, your Social Security check, your federal tax refund and even your disability benefits.
And as debt levels rise, creditors are taking increasingly extreme actions to pressure borrowers into paying off their debts. In 19 states, government agencies can even seize a professional license if a borrower defaults on their loans. For many workers, no license means no job.