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Group warns students against drowning in debt

FOX 13 on Ocbober 11, 2012

TAMPA (FOX 13) – If you ever sat in a college classroom, it’s likely you have a number.

“I think it’s around $23,000,” said USF senior Arian Howard.

It’s a number that’s connected to a decision you made when you were relatively young, that will likely follow you for the majority of your life.

“I’m definitely over $20,000,” said USF Senior Kristin Bradstreet.

That number is the amount you owe in student loan debt.

If you owe, you’re not alone. It’s estimated Americans owe more than one trillion dollars in student loan debt.

Thursday, a Washington D.C. based non-profit called the “Young Invincibles” spoke to a small group of students at USF on the issue.

“We’re visiting college campuses across the country, USF being one of them, to talk with students a little about the cost of tuition, student loans, to make sure they really understand some of the choices that they’re making with tuition,” said Brian Burrell of the Young Invincibles.

The non-partisan group says they don’t tell students what to do; instead, they are there to share information.

“I don’t really know if any of them have, or many of the students, have a clear idea of how it could impact them,” Burrell said.

Arian Howard is a senior finance student who says loans are heavy on his mind.

“It’s a huge concern to me. I mean, every year loans are building up and building up,” Howard said.

The Young Invincibles made sure students like Howard knew about programs like “income-based repayment,” where a monthly payment can be reduced if there is a financial hardship.

They also shared information about public service loan forgiveness, a program implemented in 2007 allowing those who choose careers in public service a chance for forgiveness on their loan balance.

“What we’re trying to do is just give them all of the options,” Burrell said.

Options to help them stay in school and out of financial trouble, student loans or not.

“Taking out loans still make sense economically because the value of an education is that important,” said Howard.

The Young Invincibles say about two thirds of college students graduate with debt. They also say of the total outstanding student loan debt, about $85 billion is past due.