|By Mila Koumpilova, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.|
She is hopeful she will line up financing for a pet supply shop, where her two golden retrievers will greet customers. Failing that, she trusts her
But she also worries about repaying
"I am certainly daunted by what's ahead of me," said Iverson, of
A growing number of Americans 50 and older face student loan payments, defying the conventional wisdom of college debt as a concern of those in their 20s and 30s.
The economic downturn added to the already swelling ranks
of those arriving on campus later in life to shift career gears. And more parents are taking out or co-signing loans for their children's education.
Student loan debt can be more unsettling in those later years, when it can throw off retirement plans or collide with medical bills. Mixed with stories of successful midlife reinventions are those of garnished
When the economic downturn hit, Iverson was laid off from her job as an information technology director at a local nonprofit. She'd taken the job when she and her husband separated; the couple had run a successful IT consulting business for years.
"I found myself without a job and without much of an education,"
said Iverson, who had some college credit at the time.
After struggling to find another job, she enrolled in a
A year and a half later, she cuts a familiar figure on campus, with her flowing grey hair and a textbook-packed rolling suitcase instead of one of the ubiquitous backpacks. She is a
Student loans made it possible, she says. She used the last
A study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of
Almost 10 percent of borrowers older than 50 are delinquent on their student loans.
Experts suspect the majority of borrowers that age owe for children's or grandkids' student loans. According to the nonprofit
Amid the economic uncertainty, private lenders are also pressing more parents to co-sign on children's loans after they've taken out the maximum federal loans allowed.
More people out of a growing pool of baby boomers are also enrolling to seek an edge on a tight job market or a second