When I heard that there is over $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt nationwide, it was a hard number to wrap my head around.
According to an infographic from SmarterBucks®, in order for me to spend $1 trillion, I would need to either: A) Attend Harvard over 4 million times B) Cover my lawn with 50 billion high-quality plastic flamingoes 3) Give every person on the planet $142 4) Buy Facebook … 20 times.
Now that I can visualize it all, it’s easier to understand just how much debt is weighing down college graduates.
Just how much? The Project on Student Debt says the average graduate from 2011 owes $26,600 per borrower.
But how did it get so bad? Thanks to tuition inflation, lower levels of government spending on higher education and higher demand for a college diploma, we’re struggling to pay for college.
Because of the aforementioned factors, we’re borrowing more. A lot more. According to the SmarterBucks® infographic, students today take out $904 billion in federal loans — compared to $241 billion in 2001. That’s a 275 percent increase! And private loans are growing, too — there’s been a 3,000 percent increase from 2001 to today.
How does that affect your post-graduate life? Well, in this economy, it probably means you’re willing to take any job you can get — whether or not it’s related to your field of study. So you might not be whistling while you’re working, but you’re at least earning money. You have student loan payments to make, after all.
Even if you have a job that you enjoy, it doesn’t mean it is easy to afford it all. Between paying rent, utilities, and insurance (or any other bills you have to pay), you’ll be hardly able to scrape together money for your student loans from your meager first-job-out-of-college salary.
But know that you don’t have to face the burden of student debt alone. With SmarterBucks®, you can earn rewards on the money you’re already spending. Those rewards become extra student loan payments, helping you get out of debt faster and for less.
If you hate crunching the numbers and the idea of staring your debt down all by yourself, SmarterBucks® is a great way for you to work on your debt. SmarterBucks® offers you the ability to use its marketplace when you need to buy something, allowing you to find deals and possibly earn up to 10 percent back in rewards. It also allows you to sign up for a debit card, which will help you get rewards on purchases like groceries and gas.
And your parents and friends can help you, too! They can help with your account by either making a contribution or signing up as a gifter, which allows them to earn rewards for you.
Why would you want to do this? Because the faster you pay off your debt, the less you’ll owe in interest over time. Not to mention, the quicker you can pay off your loans, the quicker you’ll be able to ditch the dark cloud of debt that’s been following you around since graduation.
Chipping in just an extra $20 a month can really make a difference in the long haul. But how do you save an extra $20 a month when you’re already trying to pay all your bills on time? Skipping one meal, avoiding store-bought coffee or ditching a gym membership can help you do that!
Whatever you do, don’t default on your payments. If you do, you could see your future salary get eaten up by a collection agency. Signing up with SmarterBucks® will help you avoiding doing just that.
Read the infographic below to get more insights on what the $1 trillion student loan problem really means and what you can do about it.
Kara Apel is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina. In addition to College Cures, she is the Managing Editor of UniversityChic.com. She's a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority and loves Gamecock football.
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