Updated 04/05/2012 06:17 PM
Student loan debt skyrocketing
U.S. student loan debt has surpassed that of credit card and auto loan debt and still continues to climb. As YNN's Erin Clarke tells us, experts say if not handled properly, runaway student loan debt could become a crisis like what toppled the housing market, leaving recent grads with little buying power for homes and cars and virtually unable to live life comfortably.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
UNITED STATES -- Student loan debt nationally is about a trillion dollars and recent grads shouldering that burden are coming to a harsh reality.
"Can I afford the apartment I want to live in? Can I afford a car? Do I have to move back home with my mother and father? I like the job that I want to apply for, but it doesn't pay enough money for me to sustain my debt," said National College Advocacy Group Executive Director Gary Carpenter.
The average student loan debt is more than $25,000. A necessary evil some economists say because job opportunities are greater for college grads.
"Their income will be much higher than high school graduates. The last study I read was something on the order of close to 70 percent more for four year bachelor’s degree than a high school graduate with no college," said Syracuse University Economics Professor Don Dutkowsky.
But what's a family to do when faced with the rising cost of education? The key to not becoming overwhelmed by student loan debt, experts and administrators say, is early preparation. Start planning at an age that almost seems too early.
"If you want your student to go to a good school begin the process when your student starts kindergarten," said Le Moyne College Student Financial Aid Director William Cheetham.
Cheetham suggests putting money previously used for child care toward college and making sure that money lasts the entire time your child is in school. Even then, there still may be some tough choices to make.
"Realize also that you may not be able to go to the school that you always thought you had to. You may have to make concessions," said Carpenter.
A hard pill to swallow, but the price paid to avoid a potential life of debt later on.
Financial experts say people currently having difficulty paying loans should explore payment options available instead of simply defaulting.