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Student Loan Debt Becoming Bigger Problem for Miss. Grads

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 18 Jun 2013 07:08am | comments

More than half of Mississippi college graduates will walk out of school with student loan debt at an average of 23,000 dollars. Student loans are becoming a bigger personal debt concern as the cost of college climbs.

 

Andrew Fisher is a recent Jackson State University graduate who is now a math teacher.

 

 "I know so many people that don't pay them back once they get out of school and they end up being in debt for the rest of their life,"

 

Fisher says he is lucky because his job came with a loan repayment offer, otherwise he doubts he would have been able to pay for college or pay back the loans.

 

"The day you graduate you might get a call, literally the day you graduate, you might get a call to say you need to start paying back this stuff. It can be a burden. It can feel like you are working for nothing trying to pay them back," Fisher said.

 

Fisher is part of a growing pool of young people trying to find a way to pay for a college education that seems necessary.

 

Student loan debt now now tops 1-trillion dollars, making it the largest chunk of consumer loan debt.

 

Interest rates on most student loans will double at the end of the month unless congress acts....Higher rates would make it more difficult to pay back the loans.

 

Dan Press with the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy attorneys says Congress should go one step further and allow students to decrease out of control debt through bankruptcy.

 

"They are not given a whole lot of options. They are told this is what you need to do to secure that education. These are not very sophisticated people. They are not that used to dealing with credit. And this is a huge obligation for them," Press said.

 

Under current law, student loans cannot be diminished via bankruptcy.

 

Personal finance advisor Nancy Lottridge Anderson says students need to be accountable for the loans they take but there is often a huge gap between the cost of loans and what new college grads will earn.

 

"That's the starting point is to really get them educated about the type of earning they can get from various degrees so they can make the sound decision about whether or not they need to invest in that," Anderson said.

 

The cost of college has gradually shifted to students as states, like Mississippi, decrease their funding of public colleges and universities.

 

In addition, the unemployment rate for new grads is nearly 9%.

 

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