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When people my age look back on their college days, they often recall being "starving" students. But, back in a time when it was possible to complete a university education with some scholarships, a modest student loan and a part-time job, few of my peers were ever truly hungry.

The number of older Americans taking on student debt on behalf of their children and grandchildren has quadrupled in the past decade, with consumers 60 and older now holding $66.7 billion in student loan debt, according to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.