Today’s college graduates are walking away from college life with more than their degree. Upon graduation, the average undergraduate has accumulated over $3,173 in debt (Sallie Mae, 2009)–and that’s on credit cards alone. Many find themselves in a bind–unable to pay their debt to creditors because they either do not yet have a job or do not make enough to manage the debt they have amassed.
Then there are the student loans. By the time the average college student graduates they have accumulated thousands of dollars in debt. In 2007-2008, the average student loan debt among graduating seniors was $23,186 (excluding PLUS Loans but including Stafford, Perkins, state, college and private loans). So, where can one turn for debt management help?
Creating an effective debt management plan is extremely important for a young graduate about to enter the workforce. Professional credit counselors such as Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions are experienced in providing viable solutions for debt management problems and budgeting to ensure a stable financial future.
The statistics associated with debt due to credit cards and student loans can be quite disturbing. Take a look at the numbers:
The profile of the college student is continually evolving. Gone are the days when the majority of students start attending college directly out of high school and receive a degree in four years. Today’s college student has many faces-the working mother, the part-time student with a full-time job, and the executive who wants to learn a new skill, and many take five years or more to receive a bachelor’s degree. Although the profiles have changed, one thing remains the same-a college education is expensive, and the trends only show it to be getting more evident.
Tuition is getting higher, college stays are getting longer, and student loans and grants are not as generous as they once were. According to the U.S. Department of Education, this is leading to a greater dependency on student loans, thus the average debt per student has increased by more than 50% over the past decade. The need for students to have good debt management skills is extremely important for their financial health.
Although graduating from college is a major milestone in someone’s life, it doesn’t mean that a college education prepares you for all of life’s challenges, especially when it comes to financial matters. Many college graduates feel overwhelmed and scared about their financial situations, and they don’t know where to turn for help. It is vitally important to educate yourself on the realities of debt management, and learn what options are available. Here are a few useful tips to keep in mind:
Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions offers professional help with budgeting and debt management for unsecured debt. These information hotlines offer specific advice and additional help on repaying student loans:
It may also be a good idea to inquire about loan consolidation options. Many college graduates have more than one loan, with varying interest rates. Consolidating those loans and making one monthly payment with a low interest rate can make debt management a bit more tolerable.
Consider looking into loan forgiveness programs (in which the government forgives all or part of a federal loan in exchange for certain volunteer work, public service or military service). Read more about the Public Loan Forgiveness Program.