(CREDITCARDS.com) — While consumers have paid down credit card balances and other debts in recent years, there’s one area where they continue to borrow heavily: student loans.

People affected by growing student loan debt are sounding alarms, and no wonder. Look at the numbers. According to data from the Federal Reserve:

* Student loan balances now stand at about $870 billion, an amount that has surpassed total credit card balances ($693 billion) and total auto loan balances ($730 billion).
* The average outstanding student loan balance per borrower is $23,300.
* About 37 million Americans owe money on student loans.
* Almost 10 percent of student loans — $85 billion worth — are delinquent, and the Feds fear that number may be understated.

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