An increasing number of Americans are buckling under the weight of mounting student loan debt and the fallout could look a lot like the nation’s catastrophic mortgage meltdown, experts say, U.S. News reports. Total student loan debt has surged to more than $1 trillion over the past few years and with it the number of people seeking help handling their debt. More than 80 percent of bankruptcy attorneys surveyed by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys reported a “major” jump in student loan borrowers seeking help, according to a study released Tuesday.

“Take it from those of us on the frontline of economic distress in America: This could very well be the next debt bomb for the U.S. economy,” said NACBA president William Brewer. “What we are worried about is that we are looking at the next mortgage-style debt threat to the United States.”

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