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Students Already In Student Loan Debt Pile On More

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) –You know what they say, “High school is supposed to prepare you for college,” but what they don’t tell you is how to pay for it. Students nationwide are saddled with debts it will take them decades to repay, all in the name of higher education. In 2010, student loan debt surpassed credit card debt for the first time in history. “I think it’s a little out of control. I personally didn’t have huge debt, I owed a little over $20,000, and by the time I pay it off, it’ll be $75,000. I’ll have my house paid off before I have my college debt paid off, and to me, that’s just ridiculous,” Kelly MacDonald said.

Student loan debt is also delaying things many people look forward to, like buying a home, investing, and even starting a family things that would also send a much needed jolt to the economy.

Folks here in Western Mass are also finding it harder to begin to tackle student loan debt. They’re digging themselves deeper by going to graduate school to even be considered for a job in the field where they got their undergraduate degree. “I go to social work school and there were jobs in that field that I wanted to get that I couldn’t get without an M.S.W. and I think that’s a piece of it. We’re in a society where you can’t go to a certain point without an education, and then that education has to come at a tremendous monetary cost to you,” Emma Roderick shared.

“There’s going to be a lot of it, I have no idea, really, how I’m going to pay it, as I intend to continue my education after the undergraduate level. I’m sure it will become a much more prevalent thought after I move out of the dorm and realize, crap, I have to live in an apartment now for a long, long time,” Mt. Holyoke College student Zoe Payne-Taylor said.

This puts Zoe’s parents in a tough position. “It’s kind of a sandwich situation. We have our retirement on one side, and continuing to help our daughter on the other side. So, you know, you have a convergence of things there that makes life a little more difficult,” Chris and Karen Payne-Taylor admitted.

Even with the squeeze, the Payne-Taylors say bankruptcy, which some people do consider to try an relieve student debt is not an option. The Department of Education says the student loan default rate has ballooned to almost 10%.