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People try to explain $1 trillion dollars in a variety of ways. “It’s like a stack of $1 bills stretching from here to the moon,” or “It’s more than the gross domestic product of Australia.”
It’s all very heartfelt but not very helpful when it comes to paying for college. Although President Obama and Congress are attempting to reduce student loan debt, most of their actions are not likely to have an immediate impact on the marketplace.
Impact of Student Loan Debt
Student loans, once a rarity in paying for college, are now an entrenched part of the financial aid system. 67% of college students have them, and colleges, for the first time, routinely include Parent PLUS loans, subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loans in their financial aid packages.
It’s all very disconcerting when you consider just how student loan debt is hurting graduates.
Student Loan Debt by the Numbers
It’s a frightening scenario. The average college graduate today owes $26,000 in student loans, and the average 8th grader, given a steady rise, can expect to owe $43,000. The interest rate on subsidized Stafford Loans will eventually go back up (from 3.4% to 6.8%), if not this summer, then soon. A weak economy means colleges and states have less gift aid to offer, even as tuition skyrockets.
So what’s a student to do?
The earlier your start navigating around student loan debt, the better off you’ll be. To understand how this fully works, attend one of our financial aid webinars and get your free financial aid file. It presents dozens of ways to cut your college costs so that you’re not one of those graduates swimming in college debt.
After all, the government can’t solve its own debt problems; it’s not likely to solve yours. There are ways the system can help you, if you plan ahead. Get expert advice and great tools to improve your future financial aid.
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