Take this in for a long second. The chart shows the amount of student loans held by the US government and Sallie Mae from 1975 to 2011. The last gray bar to the right is the current recession. The amount of new student loans issued in the last four years is somewhere around a quarter of a trillion dollars. Even if we discount for where the 30-year trend line would have gone (~$15 billion), we are still looking at $200+ billion in student loans issued since 2007.