Student loan debt at all time high - WNEM TV 5

Student loan debt at all time high

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Student loan debt is at an all-time high and the costs continue to rise.

Federal student loan interest rates are set to increase Tuesday. Loans for undergraduates will rise 1 percent from last year. Loan rates for graduate students will rise just under 1 percent.

The average student in Michigan graduates with just under $29,000 in loans.
With the increase that comes to about $300 more per year.

Many college students leave campus with a weight of student debt.

"I'm worried about when they'll kick in," said Lisa Calandrino, student.

Now that weight is about to get even heavier.

"Well, what's happening with the Stafford loan, if you take a 10-year loan rate, they're going to pay about $46 more a year for that loan," said Mindy McIntosh, financial planning expert at McIntosh & Associates.

Federal student loans for undergraduates will be rising one percent from last year. Grad students will see an increase in interest rates from 5.4 to 6.21 and loans taken out in parents names will shoot from 6.41 percent to 7.21.

"We see interest rates increase, it's just getting tougher and tougher for these students to pay off debt, get out of debt, or even plan on going to college," McIntosh said.

McIntosh said students should pay off their lowest balances first and work their way up.

"So if they have three or four student loans, we don't always target the highest interest rate first, we pay that off, say great, move on, step into the next one and keep going," she said.

With interest rates increasing and the fear of paying back loans after graduation is looming, TV5 asked students if they thought the price of education was too high. 

"Yeah, I think everybody worries about that. It's hard to deal with and handle the stress," Calandrino said.

One of the most frightening things for students is worrying if they will have a job to pay back those big loans after they graduate.

"I don't know what I'll be doing at the time. I don't know if I will have an internship or a full time job by then," Calandrino said.

McIntosh also gave other tips to combat heavy student debt.

She said parents should start planning early to save money for college. 

While the students are still in school they should effectively budget their funds so they aren't in a hole by the time they have to pay back their loans," McIntosh said.

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