The average college gradaute owes $26,600 in student loans and the national student loan debt amount is increasing.
As a recent college graduate myself, I understand as well as anyone what life is like with massive student loan debt. By the time I graduated a year and a half ago I had accumulated over $70,000 in debt; well over the national average. I’m currently working three jobs, over 80 hours a week to pay off my debt. I’ve made some great strides so far, but still have a long way to go.
Every now and then I look back and wish someone had sat me down and explained the consequences of my financial decisions in high school. I signed on my first loan for college when I was only 18 years old, and I remember being approved and celebrating with my mom. I think we were both just excited that someone (rather, some bank) had given me the money to attend the college I wanted to but clearly couldn’t afford. Now looking back, I wish I had gone to a college I could have afforded without borrowing money, but that’s a lesson learned now.
One thing I’m really trying to do is become an advocate for arming high school students with a strong foundation of knowledge so they can make wise financial decisions and fully understand the long-term consequences of their decisions. I’d like to mentor students, giving them a wholistic view of not only saving for college, but investing, credit, debt, giving, budgeting and career mapping for success. The ultimate vision is to decrease the amount of student loan debt, while increasing the amount of college graduates.
I’ve been researching and reading a lot of information on this topic and looking into any additional resoruces I have for building my own financial literacy knowledge base. Look for more information to come as I work on this initiative.