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College students graduating with more debt than ever; here are options to help

Posted at 4:18 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-26 13:06:50-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When college students walk across the stage at graduation in May, they will be handed more than a diploma.

The Federal Reserve Bank estimates that on average, students will graduate with about $30,000 in student loan debt.

With four in every five adults saddled with student loan debt, experts say it is playing a role in delayed home and car purchases.

"My name is Angelique. I am a senior and I have $85,000 in student loans,” University of Missouri-Kansas City senior Angelique Long said Thursday.

On college campuses across the country, students are taking out sizable loans to pay for their education.

"Students go into the loans not knowing there is going to be interest involved (and) repayment is going to start as soon as they graduate,” said Ashley Jost with the financial aid office at Johnson County Community College.

UMKC junior Wyatt Fears is on scholarship right now and currently owes about $8,000 in loans. He plans to go to medical school and will need to take out more loans to pay for his continued education.

"I am going to be in more debt,” Fears said. “I am in the biological sciences programs, so I will be in more debt.”

Jost said her best advice for current students is to work with their financial aid office to see what scholarships and grants might be available to them.

For college graduates who are looking for ways to pay back their loans, Jost said that beyond the traditional means, some employers offer student loan programs.

"Speak with the HR department, see what benefits and perks are out there,” she said. “Depending on your service or in the public industry, there may be options available for you.”