Over the last 15 years the starting salary for recent college grads has declined about $4000. Unfortunately, as ValueWalk.com details, the amount of student loan debt most students are graduating with has skyrocketed. You can now expect to graduate into a worse job market and with more debt than just a decade ago, which is leading to a serious financial crisis- the average debt load upon graduation is $37,000, and many people can’t even make their minimum payments.
Nearly 60% of student borrowers have no idea when their student loans will be paid off. Over half of borrowers have no idea what their monthly payments will be when they graduate. When you combine these facts with declining wages and rising housing rates, many people will find they just can’t make ends meet.
There are a few things students can do before graduation to ensure they aren’t set up for failure. Find out what your total costs will be and only take out the amount you need- financing a pizza every Friday night for four years can easily turn an expense of $1800 into $2291 when you have to pay interest over time. Try to seek out alternative ways to cover at least a portion of your expenses- a work-study program or part-time job can be a big help!
Student loans can never be bankrupted, so it’s important to pay them off as quickly as possible. Make payments while you are still in school on order to minimize your debt load upon graduation, and once you graduate try to make additional principal payments whenever possible to help accelerate your payoff schedule. Stay on top of payments and set up automatic payments if necessary so you never miss a payment- penalties can keep you on the hook much longer than you need to be. Learn more about lightening the student loan burden from this infographic!