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Fresh college graduates hold record levels of student loan debt

For many young people, being accepted into college is a major accomplishment. As soon as the acceptance letter comes in the mail, however, there is likely a question of how to fund the education. Oftentimes, this involves government-backed or private student loans.

Of course, the idea of accumulating some debt shouldn't discourage people from attending college, since it can be an investment in obtaining a better career. At the same time, recent college graduates have felt the squeeze of the economic downturn. Dealing with the pressures of growing debts and a sluggish job market has put many young people in a tough spot.

According to a recently released survey, post-graduation student debt loads are continuing on an upward trajectory. Those who graduated in 2012 have an average of $29,400 worth of debt. This is a year-over-year increase of nearly $3,000.

Financial observers have noted that colleges are raising tuition rates and the amount of financial assistance students are receiving is trending in the other direction. They say that students’ parents are contributing less money, on average, as a result of the recession.

Not only are students facing the prospect of taking on more loans while in college, they also face a struggling job market after graduating. Without a well-paying job, it can be very difficult to keep up with loans.

While there are debt relief options available, it's important to understand that student loans typically cannot be discharged in personal bankruptcy. Although this may be the case, students can still pursue debt relief in order to ease financial pressure created by other debts in order to focus on paying back student loans.

Source: USA Today, "Class of 2012 hit with average debt of $29,400," Hadley Malcolm, Dec. 5, 2013

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