Recent grads are finding themselves swamped by bills for their education.
By Terrie Morgan-Besecker email@example.com
Law & Order Reporter
Justin Kozloski of Dallas job shadowing reporters at The Times Leader
. Many graduates these days are finding that landing the right job is secondary to coping with the high cost of repaying the student loans that got them through college. Tuition has skyrocketed in recent decades, forcing students to rely more heavily on borrowed money to complete their educations. When they graduate they are confronted by large payments on their student loans.
Charlotte Bartizek/for the times leader
Denise Williams entered Monmouth University in New Jersey in 2005 with hopes of earning a degree that would land her a job as a television news broadcaster.
At age 21, she didn’t give much thought to the more than $20,000-a-year cost for tuition and room and board. The college had a great communications program, and nearly the entire cost was covered by student loans. She assumed she’d get a good enough job to pay back the loans after she graduated.
Six years later, the 27-year-old Hanover Township woman struggles to meet even her most basic needs as she deals with the reality of paying off the $45,000 in student debt she amassed.
That dream job as a broadcaster never materialized.
She instead works as a full-time customer service representative, earning just over $11 an hour – ironically at Sallie Mae in Hanover Township, the nation’s largest private student loan processor.
Each month, $376 – or more than 30 percent of her net earnings – goes toward her loans. That doesn’t count another $50 a month she pays to her mother, when she can, to help cover a $500 monthly payment she makes on another loan on which Williams defaulted.
“I couldn’t keep up. The payments were too high,” Williams said. “They’d ask me, ‘Why are you behind?’ I have other bills. I have to eat. They don’t understand or care. All they want is their money.”
For Williams it was a painful lesson. And she’s not alone.
She is among a growing number of college graduates who find themselves in financial trouble as they face the stark reality of just how much their education cost.
Average debt: $34K
Two thirds of college students who graduated in 2010-11 with a four-year degree had at least some debt, with the average debt being $34,430, according to an analysis conducted by FinAid.org, an award-winning website that provides extensive information regarding student aid and loans.
That’s more than triple the $9,797 debt carried by the average graduate in 1992. Read more…