Dealing With Student Debt
FOR many recent college graduates, the dream of owning a home may have to be postponed awhile as they first grapple with repaying mounds of education loans.
Outstanding student loan debt now totals over $1 trillion, according to a report last month from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That surpasses the amount owned on all credit cards in the United States.
Student debt has become an issue in the presidential race, with both President Obama and Mitt Romney, the presumed Republican nominee, supporting efforts to extend loan subsidies set to expire in July.
Last year alone, students took out $117 billion just in federal loans. And it’s no wonder: According to the College Board, the average annual cost of out-of-state tuition, room and board at a public institution is $29,657; at a private nonprofit, it is $38,589.
“Some student loan payments are as high as a mortgage,” said Cari Sweet-Kostoplis, an assistant vice president of the Jersey Mortgage Corporation in Parsippany. She noted that one client who had monthly loan payments totaling $2,800 opted to work as a prison psychologist to qualify for a federal student loan forgiveness program offered to those who undertake community service work after graduation.