Oct 24, 2010 7:37 PM by Matt Stafford

Students finding it tough to get out of school, out of debt

A new report shows over half of college graduates owe money, and their debt is sometimes more than they'll make in their first year of employment. That's if they get a job at all.

Samantha Larson is a junior at U.C.C.S. studying childhood sociology. She's getting closer to graduation, but she has to work to get there.

"The last three years my student loans have gotten pretty high," Larson explains.

She works at a local juice shop and gets a couple of federal grants for school, but it's not enough.

"It still doesn't cover all of it, and I'm still racking up about eight grand in student loans a semester."

Larson is right there with a lot of American college graduates.

A report this month, from Project on Student Debt, looking at '09 grads shows they owed an average of $24,000; a number that's growing each year. For Colorado specifically, the average is a little lower -- at just under $21,000. Also, 54 percent of Colorado grads are getting out of school with debt according to the report.

Once they're out of school, working and paying back the loan is the easy part, right? That part has Larson concerned.

"Most of the people I know that have graduated with their bachelor's, they're working part-time jobs, what ever they can get," says Larson, she adds that many don't get a chance to use their degree right away.

Regardless, Larson keeps working; because she says hard work can get her past a tough patch. But she does want the hard work to be for something.

"It just makes you wonder, is this going to pay off?" says Larson. "Is this worth it at the end?"

Grads this year, and down the road, will have to wait and see.

If you want to see more on the Project on Student Debt report, click here.


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