A report released Wednesday by the U.S. Accountability Office says that student loan debt owed by those 65 years and older has jumped to $18.2 billion, all the way up from $2.8 billion in 2005.

Michael Stratford at Inside Higher Ed has the story:

Student debt increasingly trails Americans into retirement, U.S. report says

The number of Americans who are nearing or past retirement age and still have student loan debt has ballooned in recent years, as has the amount of money the government is seizing from their Social Security checks to recoup defaulted federal loans, Congressional researchers have found.

More than 700,000 households headed by Americans 65 or older now carry student debt, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. And the amount of debt owed by borrowers 65 and older jumped from $2.8 billion in 2005 to $18.2 billion last year.

While older Americans’ outstanding student loan debt accounts for a small slice of the more than $1 trillion in outstanding federal debt, they are becoming indebted and struggling to repay their loans at much higher rates than their younger counterparts.

Between 2004 and 2010, for instance, the number of households headed by individuals 65 to 74 with student loan debt more than quadrupled, going from 1 percent to 4 percent of all such families. During that same period, the rate of borrowing among Americans under 44 years old increased between 40 and 80 percent, even though borrowing among that age group is far more prevalent than it is among senior citizens.