“Americans owe some $826.5 billion in revolving credit, according to June 2010 figures from the Federal Reserve. (Most of revolving credit is credit-card debt.) Student loans outstanding today - both federal and private - total some $829.785 billion, according to Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of FinAid.org and FastWeb.com.”
Unfortunately, much of that debt goes to programs that fail to provide employment for their graduates (see recent stories of for-profit universities and the controversy surrounding income versus debt levels).
It is also important to note that student loan debt paralyzes recent graduates from taking risks in their early 20s. America needs more of its bright students to undertake entrepreneurial activities, but it is difficult to see how they will do so given the levels of debt they take on. A re-envisioning of this entire system seems well overdue.