Michigan among top in country for student debt - WNEM TV 5

Michigan among top in country for student debt

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

There's no question about it - young people in Michigan have a lot of debt.

New research on student loans is showing just how badly that debt is weighing them down.

Based on the amount of debt and opportunities to pay it back, graduates in Michigan have the seventh most student debt in the country.

"I'm struggling to actually pay for school," said Mouchettee Muhammad II, student.

He is entering his fifth year at the University of Michigan-Flint. By the time the mechanical engineering major gets his diploma, he will already be $35,000 in debt.

"We're coming to college to become successful, but if you really think about it, once we graduate we'll be in the same boat if you didn't go to college because you have to pay back student loans," Muhammad said.

He is far from alone. A new study by WalletHub puts Michigan among the top 10 states with the most student loan debt.

Ohio topped the chart at number one with Michigan falling in the number seven spot.

Across America, outstanding student loan balances total at least $1.34 trillion.

"Unless you got a really good paying job, you're going to have student loan debt for the rest of your life," Muhammad said.

Even people facing hardships who file for bankruptcy still can't get out of student loan debt. In some cases, their payments can be lowered but the balances remain.

"Student loans can get you really in a slump," Muhammad said.

What scares Muhammad the most is the debt interest that accumulates over time.

He knows he'll be paying back far more than the $35,000 he borrowed. So he works 40 hours a week and goes to school full time just to keep up.

He has a post college plan to supplement his income with real estate and other projects so he's not reliant on one job to pay off his debt.

"A lot of us come from backgrounds to where our parents can't pay for any schooling because they didn't even go to school themselves and they're working paycheck to paycheck," Muhammad said.

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