WASHINGTON (AP) – Americans took out more student and auto loans in September to boost consumer borrowing to a record level. But they cut back on credit card borrowing, a sign many remain cautious about taking on high-interest debt.

The Federal Reserve says total consumer borrowing rose $11.4 billion in September compared to August. Total consumer debt outstanding, which excludes mortgages, stands at $2.74 billion — the highest level on record.

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The increase occurred entirely in a category that consists mostly of student and auto loans. Borrowing in that category increased $14.3 billion. Credit card borrowing fell $2.9 billion, the third drop in four months.

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Most of the gains appeared to be in student lending, which could reflect the start of the academic year. The figures are not seasonally adjusted.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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