You’re hearing more about student loan debt recently because it’s an increasingly bigger part of America’s total debt.   In fact, the amount of student loan debt owed to both private lenders and the federal government is now more than the total of all credit card debt.  The debt is so high per person that it’s impacting life decisions, including marriage, home buying, retirement and more.

According to a recent article on money.cnn.com this is exactly what’s happening.  In a survey done by the American Institute of CPA’s, 41% of respondents said that they have delayed saving for retirement, 29% have delayed purchasing a home, and a whopping 40% say they have put off buying a car.  What this is saying is that, that $400 or $500 a month can’t go to a car payment; it has to go to paying off a student loan.

Just for record, 15% of respondents said that they had delayed marriage because of the level of student loan debt.

The overall debt picture looks like this.  More than $1 trillion nationwide with about 20% of all American households carrying student loans.  The average student loan debt load in 2012 jumped to an all-time high of $26,600.

The CFPB, (Consumer Financial protection Bureau)has offered a couple of options, but nothing has been officially offered as yet.  These include the ability of private loan borrowers to refinance at a lower rate of interest and the ability of all borrowers to enroll in a program that would allow for repayment on an income-based basis.

Whatever is ultimately done, it is clear that many with student loan debt need help and that it’s affecting more than just  few pocketbooks.