The government approved $10.6 billion in loans to less than one million families this year through Parent Plus, a program for parents paying for their child’s college education, according to NBC News.
One woman, who asked not to be named, borrowed $41,000 to help her daughter attend NYU. She plans to make payments between $400 and $500 each month. "I'll never retire. I'll work forever, that's OK," she told NBC News.
Gemma Nemenzo took out a $17,000 loan from the program at a time when (by her estimate) she earned roughly $25,000 every year, to pay for her daughter, Aurora Almendral, to attend New York University, according to NBC News.
Twelve years later, the loan has reached $33,000 due to fees and interest.
Parent Plus has nearly twice as many borrowers than it did in 2000, according to NBC news, citing a report by the U.S. Department of Education.
Victoria Stillman, an accountant, filed a loan application to pay for her son’s education and was approved within minutes. "The fact that the Plus loan program is willing to provide me with $50,000 a year is nuts," Stillman told NBC news. She ultimately decided to not go through with it.
To counteract the debt, some students are dropping out of college completely. "It makes me sick to my stomach," David Palmer, chief executive for the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts, told NBC, "because they've got half an education and a mountain of debt."
Other students are dropping out and finishing their education at cheaper institutions, according to NBC News.