As Ark-La-Tex graduates get fitted for that cap and gown, they're facing many economic hurdles. One of the biggest can be student loan debt. That's because the total amount of student loans now tops both credit card and car debt in the United States.The average graduate will be about $25,000 in debt when they receive an undergraduate diploma.
Now a new survey by CabinCoupon and Harris Interactive shows that debt may follow college grads much further than they expected. 47 percent of adults between 35 and 45 have more than $20,000 left to pay on their loans. That can mean struggling with monthly payments far into the peak of their working lives.
We talked to Bossier Parish Community College professor Becky Turbeville, who said there are ways for students to pay down debt more quickly, with a few lifestyle changes. "Students need to be realistic with their expectations. They may not be able to enjoy that same standard of living when they lived as home and their parents were paying for some of their living expenses," she said.
Other tips she gave us? Read your loan agreement carefully and stay on top of payments to avoid extra interest fees.
Plan out a budget and stick to it. Find out what you're spending your extra money on and try to cut back. Turbeville also suggests finding a major in high-demand field that's compatible with your interests, so you'll be more likely to find a job immediately after graduation.