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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In her fourth year at the University of Minnesota, psychology senior Laurie Grad is one of the lucky ones. She’ll graduate next spring, owing roughly $14,000 in student loan debt. Lucky, because that’s substantially less than the $27,000 that the average university student will owe.

So to her, the pressure will be on to find a job and quickly.

“And yes, even if I don’t that’s something that’s really scary. Hopefully, I can lean on mom and dad, but many kids can’t so that’s scary,” said Grad.

Paying for a college education has never been harder and the debt load never higher. That’s why financial aid and literacy experts gathered inside the University’s Coffman Union. They’re urging students and their parents to understand all the options of getting and repaying college loans.

Raj Date is a special advisor at the U.S. Treasury Department. He’s promoting the help available through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a branch of the Treasury.

“There’s evidence that more than half of all students with private student loans actually have not exhausted their opportunities for federal loans,” explained Date. “That means they probably have loans that are more expensive and less flexible than they could have gotten.”

“It’s a big concern,” added college student Kamille Rocha.

Her story is strikingly similar. After being told that her parents’ income disqualified her for financial aid, she turned to putting expenses on a credit card. In her first two years at a community college, Rocha racked up over $10,000 in debt at an interest rate of nearly 20 percent.

She’s since transferred to a four-year school and has accessed federal student loans. But the experience has her worried how she will make both payments upon graduation.

“It’s a lot cause I’m still paying that off and I’m going to be stuck with that until I can pay it all off,” said Rocha.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has helpful information to student loan borrowers, including a prototype college shopping sheet. The financial tool is intended to help students and parents compare financial award letters, loan products and repayment options of all college funding products. Click here for more information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau .

Comments (42)
  1. Thomas Keim says:

    no jobs no pay student loans the government better get busy and get rid of free trade and fast

  2. Kevin says:

    Freakin election year….3 years of doing nothing…NOW OBAMA! OBAMA!!!!

    1. jackactionhero says:

      Uneducated statement.

  3. todd says:

    wow 14,000 and 10,000 in debt thats nothing i hope mom and dad can help her out grow up

    1. College Student says:

      At least our debt is for something of good value! I will be quite a bit in debt when I am done with my masters program but with the job I get with that degree I will have no problem paying it back and then some!

      Anyone who is in debt with credit cards and personal loans and can’t spend their money wisely should have known better and what they were getting into. They need to grow up, not the college students who, with no training, make minimum wage at fast food places and convenience stores that can’t pay for college, hence the loans.

      Todd, by saying 14000 is nothing, says a lot about your situation. Either A: 14k is pocket change to you, or B: you are in a lot more debt than this college student, and not student loan debt either. If it’s option B than you obviously need to grow up because you can’t spend your money wisely.

      As you can see your comment greatly offended me. You sound completely immature and ignorant by saying that. You sound like a real prick!

      1. @College Student says:

        @College Student: Please archive your statement and revisit once you’ve awoke from your delusional mind set. Once you become a CONTRIBUTING member of society, have a REAL job and wean yourself off of a government subsidized student loan program, you can address the rest of the adults.

        Some points in no particular order:

        1) Neither I nor anyone else owes you anything
        2) You are not entitled to anything without first earning it
        3) A Master’s Degree is nothing without equivalent job experience (yes, I too have an MBA)
        4) The real world isn’t tucked neatly into 1.5 hour blocks of time that you call class

      2. joe says:

        are you over weight?

  4. Dave says:

    Do as I did, get a job, and have your employer pay for it. It may take longer, but at least I don’t owe anything. All I was out was my time and about $2000 they didn’t pay for and now I have a Bachelor in Business Admin with a Minor in econ.
    So far, I’ve found a four year degree over rated. Should have went to the technical/engineering direction instead of business.
    Then I’ve been purchasing my own cloths since I was 14 anyway. Had to grow up early in life.

    1. The REAL, real Jake says:

      Or do what I did. Went into the military for 3 years. My pay paid for my previous two years of college before I went into the service and at a higher rank because of my two years of college.. My Army college fund paid for my last two years and first year of my Masters when I got out and I saved while i was in so had a nice sum of money to get a basic car and cover living expenses when I went back to school. I also entered the Reserve system when I got off of Active duty so I had a part time job waiting for me while I did my 2nd two years of undergrad. and one year of Graduate studies. By then I had my full time job and my employer picked up the rest of my education.

      1. Just Say'n says:

        The REAL Jake is a welfare queen. By the welfare of the government, (taxpayers) and his employer. That is not doing it on your own….

        1. Jake says:

          BS, just say’n. Joining the military is a NOBLE, and HONORABLE thing to do, and the pay isn’t all that great, unless you serve overseas in a war zone, but then you have to deal with all that baggage too. The GI Bill is NOT a ‘welfare’ program, but a program designed to attract INTELLIGENT people, who wish to better themselves, unlike the well-known WELFARE QUEENS, who produce generation after generation of parasitical zombies. If you think that the GI Bill is ‘welfare’, well then, don’t break a leg running to your local recruiting office and SIGN UP. Not qualified? I’m not surprised. You are probably addicted to something, or have a criminal record, which means that you can’t get it. So soddy.

          1. @Jake says:

            You have to be a real loser if the service won’t take you, they have no way of knowing of an addiction, and only a felony excludes you, same standards as Mcdonalds only I would rather work there than have gone to waste of war Iraq.

  5. Redneck Purist says:

    Did someone put a gun to their heads? NO GOVT. BAILOUTS OF STUDENT LOANS WITH TAXPAYER MONEY!

    1. Uhhh says:

      These are loans. They will have to be paid back. No one will be bailing anyone out with any of your precious taxpayer money.

      Then again, facts never did matter much for you TeaBag types. Maybe you should get a job and head on back to school. Might learn something, eh?

      1. Walter says:

        Wow, you’re stupid and angry. What a distasteful combination.

      2. Walter says:

        Never mind. I didn’t take the time to really read what it was you were saying. Now that I understand, I totally agree. They ARE loans, and will have to be paid back. Don’t know how anyone could think they are anything but.


      3. Redneck Purist says:

        Hey numb-skull. Do you think all student loans are paid back?? Have you been in a coma for about twenty years or what. An increasingly large number of people have been defaulting on their loans. Guess who foots the bill for that moron? All student loans now go through the govt. and are backed by tax dollars. My precious tax dollars to be exact, thou fool. You Flea-baggers sure are a naive bunch.

        1. Redneck stupidity says:

          If ever there was a collection agency it is the federal government. There are many student loan programs out there, the federal program based one is one of many. Federal student loans are the only loans that you can’t bankrupt out of. The only way you get out of them is to die. Theey know where you work. So what are you paying to cover?

          1. Gar says:

            wrong. if the loan is not paid back in twenty years the government pays for the balance.

          2. redneck purist says:

            Yeah sure. And Obama is gonna cut the deficit in half in his first term, and Obamacare is going to lower healthcare costs, and the check is in the mail …….Lather- rinse-repeat.

        2. Duh says:

          Guess you never heard of the Google. Over 90% are paid back.. What do you think happens to the ones that default? The debt stays outstanding forever. It’s on your credit rating forever.

          Guess some people are way too selfish and miserly to want to help out, eh?

          And those who are are to dense to do any research, it would appear.

    2. Tracy J says:

      Society put a gun to there heads by saying”without a good ED, you are nothing”.

      1. jackactionhero says:

        Uhh, they’re right. No degree typically means a non-professional job, or labor or a service job. Not much of a career.

        1. @Jack says:

          Says the guy who doesn’t even own a home computer JackactionZero, i’l take my labor job and a 40% debt to income ratio, and that includes my house payment haha, the good life.

  6. Jack Anderson says:

    Seems to me one of the best learning experiences for these students/graduates would be to hold them accountable for debts they knowingly incurred. I am of the opinion that bailouts, for whatever reason, only enable people to make more bad, irresponsible decisions. How many of these students accepted the loans because it looked like an “easier” route than getting a job and/or paying their own way. Yup, I’ve got really old fashioned ideas, but by golly, the outcomes were a whole lot better than what we are witnessing today!

  7. todd says:

    Lets say option B and yes it was for 7 years to get my masters no hand outs from anyone. Didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in my mouth. Only way for me to pay for college was with loans. Still needed a roof over my head and needed to buy mac and cheese. The money was well spent I did get a good job after school but it came with a huge debt

    1. Thank you for pointing this out! I work full time and go to school part time. But the only way for me to pay for school is with loans because my paychecks are spoken for by pesky little things like food and rent.

  8. Kenny says:

    Yahoo, more free money………………got to love the big O.

    1. Uhhh says:

      They’re loans. They’re not free. They have to be repaid. In full, with interest.

      1. Kenyy says:

        yes but backed by the gov which means if they default the gov eats it and at the end of twenty years if you haven’t repaid it ALL IS FORGIVEN AND ITS FREE

  9. No Free Ride says:

    Why do American students get stuck with large loans to go to school and all the immigrants and illegals get free schooling Just don’t seem right no one should get free school on taxpayers money.

    1. Get a job says:

      The tax payers should not have to pay for those students that have out standing loans. They took out the loans to get an education. So your right no free ride

    2. broke in lindstrom says:

      They might as well give immigrants free school they get everything else free car, ins. new house. I bet none of them will lose their homes. I have student loans that i’m making monthly payments on, becuase i decided to go to college at age 44, with gauranteed job placement and here i am 10 year later 3.85 GPA and no job to show for it.

  10. See BS says:

    So all the hippie propaganda you have to take to learn accounting is really expensive and students need help?

    Sounds like money laundering to me.

  11. LOLatPic says:

    I find it incredibly amusing that the picture they chose for this article shows a kid playing online poker. Yes, we definitely need to forgive his loans so he can keep up the hard work on the job hunt and contributing to society.

    Before people go on and on about income equality etc, I support OWS but feel that many people involved are involved for the wrong reasons and perverting the message.

  12. I'm Just Sayin' says:

    Absolutely no details in this fluff peice. From what I have read elsewhere, you will not have to pay more than 10% of your income in student loans, EXCEPT interest will still accrue. So you will be paying longer and now our government will be living off of the interest it makes on kids getting a college education. What a nice way to further fund our government with it’s never ending appetite for social programs, unfunded wars, bridges to nowhere, pork projects, and buying votes all with money it is making off of our kids getting a college education.

  13. Joe says:

    What a higher paying job? Get a higher education. Can’t afford it? Get a student loan. Finding it difficult to pay off? Get another job, maybe 3. A lot of us did and have done. Be a responsible human. Life is hard, Enjoy it, Be good to one another and stay out of my wallet please.

  14. Dad on the hook says:

    Gov. backed loans are not enough for many students to pay for college. As a result, parents need to seek additional financing for their child’s college. But because the students don’t have a credit rating or collateral the parents need to cosign. If the student is unable to pay the parents are responsible for re-payment. All this is just part of the deal, but if the student defaults the parents may also go down with their child. So not just one household is affected, but two.

  15. Responsible says:

    What about the fact that students are taking out excess funds for living expenses not just their cost of attendance. All we teach these kids is to borrow money and not be accountable. I too have been through college, received a bachelor in business and did this debt free by saving for college and working while in school. Right now I am a working professional and earning an MBA, also doing this without loans. No one bailed me out. I worked for what I have. I think the real issue the country should focus on is the loans being used to buy beer, clothing and other non-education related items.

  16. WhatBS says:

    Change the student loan process to be where the parents use their house as collateral for the loan. Then if the kid becomes delinquent in paying it back the parents cover it and leave the tax payers off the hook….

  17. Bubbles - Bubble Shooter says:

    Hi, this is a good article. You have my vote for this and also I will bookmark your blog right now.

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