It's graduation weekend for WVU students, and while it's an exciting time that one chapter of their life is closing and a brand new one is opening up, there's something else that will be sticking with these graduates for some time: student loan debt. and you'd be amazed to see how much money some future graduates of West Virginia University owe once they get their diploma.
"I owe around $35,000," says Jonathan Nelson, WVU student
"I owe around $28,000," says Ian Grimley, WVU student
"I think it's close to $20,000," says Allison Morgan, WVU student
The average student loan debt averages around $30,000 per student, and a recent study released a list of the top 15 states where the delinquency rate on student loans is higher than 13%. West Virginia is one of those states. While the amount of students falling behind on their loans is high enough, student loan debt amounts to nearly $1-trillion nationwide, which is higher than what Americans pay in credit card debt. WVU's Assistant Director of Financial Aid Steve Riffon says the main reason for this is students borrow more than they can handle.
"For example, the government will give a student a $5,500 loan. If they only need $2,000, they'll take the whole loan. It's about debt management," says Steve Riffon, WVU Assistant Director of Financial Aid.
While students will be having a hard time paying back loans, what about their parents? One parent says she's made some adjustments to her spending from helping her daughter go to school.
"I'm desperately in need of a new car, but there won't be any car until she graduates because I can't afford it," says Pamela Lopez, parent.
For all the graduating high school seniors, these future college graduates have a few words of advice you may want to keep in mind.
"Save your money, think ahead, and plan smart," says Nelson.
If you have trouble paying back your loans, their is help. You can make payments adjusted to your average income, as well as get your loans deferred longer if you can't make your payments.