A newly released study shows a record number of households--one in five--now face college debt.
And on top of that, more middle aged Americans than ever are struggling with college loans, though it may not stem from their own education.
Jean Andes and her husband Mark Hilliard had the best of intentions when it came to saving for their kids' college.
So when their daughter, Kayla, and son, Ian, went off to school, scholarships didn't cover it.
They took out loans. Lots of them. Two four-year degrees added up to 120-thousand dollars worth of debt.
They're part of a growing number of Americans facing massive loan amounts to help their kids cover college costs.
Mark Kantrowitz of finaid.org points out it's typically not debt from their own undergraduate degrees they owe. Instead, it's debt like…
He says, "Parent plus loans, from their graduate education and from cosigning on private student loans."
The amount borrowed for parent plus loans, the loans offered through the federal government, has doubled in the last decade, with an average balance of $34,000.
More parents than ever are now borrowing for their children's educations and the average amount of debt the parents are taking on is also growing.
That's a critical point when combined with the climbing cost of college.
Jean and Mark cosigned for their kids.
They hope to have everything paid off in seven to ten years.
Kantrowitz stresses parents shouldn't cosign for or take out loans that will take longer than ten years to pay off.
Kantrowitz says, "If they're borrowing more than that its going to eat into their retirement."
Even though they have no regrets, Jean and Mark admit this debt is making a dent in their lifestyle.