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Forty-four million people in the U.S. owe more than $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, according to numbers from the New York Federal Reserve. Now a new project from WNYC's Death, Sex & Money podcast is putting names to the statistics and exploring the longer-term impact of student loans. Speaking with Marketplace Weekend, host Anna Sale described the response from more than 1,000 listeners:

"The overwhelming theme was that it feels like for many people who are making monthly student loan payments, or struggling to make those payments, it feels like a secret and it feels shameful."

One of those who shared her story was "Vivian," who asked that her real name not be used because of concerns of how people would view her. She has $50,000 in student debt and works in the finance industry. 

"Those private student loans have ruined my life," Vivian said, "so I ended up remarrying my ex-husband because I couldn't afford to pay my bills."

For more on WNYC's student loan project, click on the audio player above. 

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