(Newsroom America) -- As college enrollment has risen the number of U.S. households incurring college debt has soared as well, engulfing one in five, according to new data.
The Pew Research Center found that 22.4 million households, or 19 percent, had college debt in 2010, up from 15 percent since 2007 and double the number in 1989.
The 2007-2010 time frame saw the steepest rise in college debt in more than 20 years, the center said.
"The increase was driven by higher tuition costs as well as rising college enrollment during the economic downturn," the Washington Times said, quoting the Pew center data. "The biggest jumps occurred in households at the two extremes of the income distribution."
Lower-income families are enrolling more in community colleges as a way to pad resumes so they can obtain better-paying jobs, while those in the upper income brackets are digging into their own pockets to pay for costlier private colleges.
But the sluggish economy has meant that fewer students have been able to find full-time jobs after graduation, which has contributed to a jump in debt, Pew said.
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