WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A new study found that a record 1 out of 5 households now owe student loan debt.

Analysis released by the Pew Research Center Wednesday shows that more than 22 million people still had student debt in 2010, going up from 15 to 19 percent since 2007 and more than doubling that of households who had student loan debt in 1989.

The average outstanding student loan balance was $26,682 in 2010, up from $23,349 in 2007.

Richard Fry, author of the study, told The Associated Press that he doesn’t see outstanding debt going down anytime soon.

“Until college enrollment peaks, I would not expect the amount of outstanding student debt to level off,” Fry said to the AP.

Poor people had the greatest economic burden out of everyone in dealing with college debt.

“In 2010 outstanding student debt was nearly a quarter (24 [percent]) of the household income of the lowest fifth of households by annual income,” the study stated.

Dealing with the high cost of a college education has become a major theme for both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on the campaign trail.

Obama wants to make tax credits for college expenses permanent and expand Pell grants for lower-earning families.

Romney, however, says that making government the direct source of federal student loans has not worked and simply drives tuition higher. He has also stressed the need to curb college costs.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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