These are loans taken out by college students and their families to pay the cost of higher education. By 2012, Americans owed more on student loans than on credit cards, and student debt had topped $1 trillion for the first time. There are three general categories of loans: federally guaranteed loans made by banks and other lenders; direct federal loans made by the government; and private loans, which are like other consumer loans made by banks and other lenders. Interest rates on guaranteed and direct government loans are fixed and set by Congress. Interest rates on private loans are generally higher and can vary over time. Stafford loans, the most popular federal loan, are available regardless of financial need. Government Perkins loans are available to students with the most financial need. Government PLUS loans — Parental Loans for Undergraduate Students — are made to parents of students. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported that the average student debt in 2011 was $23,200; just 3% of student borrowers owed more than $100,000, and only 10% owe more than $54,000. A U.S. Department of Education survey of 2007-08 graduates found that about two-thirds of bachelor’s degree recipients borrowed money for college.