According to www.projectonstudent.org, college seniors who graduated in 2010 with student loans owed an average of $25,250 each.
In Texas, the state average student debt is $20,919, and 56 percent of graduates in the state are in debt.
This ranks Texas at 29 out of 50, number one being the state with the highest percentage of students in debt, according to www.projectonstudentdebt.org.
Thomas Krueger, Professor, Interim Chair and Director of College Faculty Research at TAMUK, said there is a link between student debt and inflation.
“Across the last century, college costs have risen on average by two to three percent more than the rate of inflation,” Krueger said. “Holding down inflation helps to keep college affordable.”
Unfortunately, student debt continues to rise, and it is well over a trillion dollars when accumulated. But some students, like geology major Gloria Salinas, have no choice but to get loans.
“Financial aid only offered me loans,” Salinas said. “It’s going to be hard when I graduate and get a job because my money will go to my loans.”
Adria Vasquez from the Department of Accounting and Finance at TAMUK offered advice on how students can manage their debt after college.
“It’s important to find out from the company that holds the student loans how much will be due each month and for how long you will have to make payments,” Vasquez said. “Students should write out a budget either by hand or in Excel which lists the total income expected to make each month after taxes.”
Vasquez pointed out that the sooner student loans are paid off the less interest will be paid, but if loans aren’t taken care of, it could mean more problems in the future.
“Failure to pay a student loan will affect a credit score and any defaults on a student loan will affect tax returns in the future, because IRS will automatically take any refunds and apply it to the student loan balance,” Vaquez said.
Financial aid offers students subsidized and unsubsidized loans.
The difference between the two is how interest is accrued. Subsidized loans do not start accumulating interest until a student graduates; unsubsidized loans begin accumulating interest from the time the money is disbursed.
The most recent report by the U.S. Department of Education shows more than 320,000 borrowers defaulted on their student loans as of September 2010, meaning they were late 360 days or more in payment.
According to Alternative Press, about 1.5 million, or about 54 percent, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 were jobless or underemployed last year.
“A solution is to have a strong U.S. economy, so that college graduates can get jobs, use the skills they have honed, earn raises, and pay off their college bills,” Krueger said.