Indiana organization has student-debt advice for graduates


Notre Dame Commencement is this weekend, and with other schools giving out degrees too, thousands of students will be entering the workforce.

For many, graduating college means beginning to pay off student debt.

INvestED, a nonprofit that helps Hoosiers manage student debt, says in South Bend the average person leaves college owing $29,000. This can impact your quality of life for years, but there are ways to better manage the burden.

Commencement is a time of celebration, but many graduates leave with more than a just degree. They're leaving with thousands of dollars in debt.

"I knew there would be better opportunities as far as jobs. I knew I could probably make a little more money coming out of college too,” said Notre Dame senior Jacob Hoyt. “It's just a lot of different opportunities getting more education, especially at a school like Notre Dame."

For others, getting that undergrad degree is just the start.

"I'm taking on about $60,000 for grad school. I was lucky enough to get a scholarship to here, and my parents had saved up enough for undergrad, so they’re helping me out with tuition for Northwestern too. But, I'll have about $60,000 left over for me to take on," said Notre Dame senior Kayla Matthews.

Some regret the decision. A Consumer Reports study found 45 percent of people with student loan debt said that college was not worth the cost.

It also can impact their life. The study found 44 percent of people said they cut back on day-to-day expenses because of student debt, and 12 percent even put off marriage. It's an issue affecting the entire country.

"Student debt is a big issue. Forty-three million Americans have student debt. It's about $1.3 trillion in student debt. That's a lot of money,” said President and CEO of INvestED Joe Wood. “It is a problem, but actually it's a manageable problem."

Consumer Reports says the way you pay off the debt and how many years it takes has a big impact on how much you end up paying. For those graduating this weekend, the money is already on their mind.

"It's stressful thinking about finding a job and paying all the living expenses plus always thinking about the debt," Matthews said.

INvestED offers free financial advice to Hoosiers on paying back student debt. They say it's simple: the best way to get rid of it is to pay if off, but as millions of Americans know, it's not as easy as that sounds.

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