As of now, unless gold I'm unearthing,
To pay off my loan,
I'll have to postpone
My homebuying, wedding and birthing."
An entire generation is blocked from building a life while in the thrall of its towering college debts, writes Sue Shellenbarger in The Wall Street Journal. Student loans, which reached $1 trillion last year according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, may ofter eat up half of a young graduate's income, particularly if they have had to settle for a lower-paying job than they expected. Like the killer who won't die in a horror film, student loans can not only prevent one's qualifying for a home mortgage or car loan, but cannot be extinguished in a bankruptcy.
What can young people do to avoid such an unhappy fate? There are no panaceas, but some sensible suggestions would include:
- Approaching college with the goal of building valuable, employable skills by which to enable one to pay the loans down faster;
- Taking price into account while shopping for schools, with a willingness to consider the lowest priced option;
- Accepting federal or state loans (preferably subsidized) before private ones.