Certainly, student loans can be a blessing for many people, as not everyone has the luxury to afford college on their own. However, those thinking about student loans should also be very wise about their decision as this could lead them to an immense amount of debt. It is very important to get the right financial advice when it comes to student loans, advice from experts like the ones at SoFi.

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The student loan debt crisis is directly attributable to student loan consolidation, which has been increased exponentially over the last couple of decades and is currently at $1.1 trillion. According to the New York Federal Reserve’s State of the Economy. 2010, the student loan consolidation industry represents one-fifth of overall consolidation transactions.

Given that the sheer magnitude of student loan debt dwarfs the size of the overall economy, this is an egregious situation. College graduates currently owe $1.2 trillion more on their loans than they did ten years ago, while student debt is now less than half of what it was ten years ago.

Historically, it is the private student loan industry, led by Sallie Mae, that has led the charge on the expansion of student loan debt. After the 1984 enactment of a 10-year grace period, the interest rate on student loan interest skyrocketed as students attempted to keep up with ever-increasing expenses. This led to a $2.5 billion hike in student loan debt as a result.

Yet as Congress and the Department of Education continue to implement a model that is fostering a new generation of students who can take on even more debt, who is bearing the burden? After borrowing $1.4 trillion, the average student who owes money on their student loans still has more than a decade to pay it off. Even more troubling is the fact that just 13 percent of those currently paying on their student loans actually graduated from a four-year college. This includes students who borrowed the debt in the first place.

In an ideal world, students would borrow small amounts that would be forgiven when they graduated from college. Unfortunately, too often, this isn’t the case. As more students borrow, there is no incentive to come up with the money.

As of October 2011, the average debt owed per student is now $25,400, but less than 20 percent of students will ever pay it off.

So, what should college students do to reduce their debt? Paying the minimum on loans, of course. Of those who attended college in 2008, over 57 percent were enrolled in on-time payments and an additional 35 percent were on-time but in default. In other words, almost one-third of college students are paying back loans they don’t have. There is a very simple solution: pay them back!

The problem is that loans are truly onerous in a college setting, and the default rates, while high, do not make the debt go away. As a result, student loan debt carries real consequences for college graduates and their families as well.

Yet if student loan borrowers are willing to put in the time to pay off their loans, they could ultimately reap benefits and an increase in their potential earnings.

Sally Tippett

Sally was previously and ICT advisor for Staffordshire LA with responsibility for Emerging Technologies, ICT in Literacy, iPads and liaison with the managed services team. She is a highly experienced educator, having worked across the Key Stages in primary school and as a specialist teacher in an EBD school. Sally has written the Primary Computing Framework and works with many schools implementing the new curriculum and embedding mobile technologies.

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