$994 Billion: Total student loan debt, up from $440 billion in 2008.

When asked what she thought of the student-loan program she helped create 50 years ago, Alice Rivlin, who in the late 1960s headed a task force that decided whether to finance students directly or to finance the schools — before she became the head of Congressional Budget Office and the vice chair of the Federal Reserve — responded, “We unleashed a monster.” Well, that monster could very well rear its ugly head sooner or later, and when it does, it will cost us.

The Wall Street Journal has a story about one banker’s calculations of what the program may cost when the time comes:

The federal budget assumes the government will recover 96 cents of every dollar borrowers default on. That sounded high to Mr. Courtney because in the private sector 20 cents would be more appropriate for defaulted consumer…

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