GREENSBORO, N.C. — Student loan debt has more and more young adults putting off life goals, that is according to a new study out of the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
One UNCG student says she is fearful for the future.
The student loan study was done by UNCG Professor Dr. Arielle Kuperburg. She surveyed more than 3,000 students over the last five years.
Kuperburg says in the study, half of those students surveyed are putting off having kids, and a quarter of them are putting off getting married. But she said some students saw the debt as a good and necessary investment.
“We wanted to do this in a more representative way so we could hear both the horror and good stories because some of what we heard in the interviews, to which I found surprising, was that a lot of people were happy they took out student debt, in part, because that was their way of going to college,” Kuperburg said.
Karis Taylor is now a recent graduate of UNCG, but during her last few months at school she was more worried about money than graduation.
“It’s important to take care of my education expenses, rent, and I want to make sure I’m independent and can help out myself and my family,” Taylor said.
Taylor majored in sociology and is determined to create a better future for herself by going to graduate school in the fall to study mental health counseling. She’s been putting money aside since she already has student debt.
“10 to 15,000, and especially going to be more since I’m going to graduate school. And I have a twin sister, Cameron, who’s going to be going to graduate school at the same time,” Taylor said.
She budgets her money each month to stay on track, but the burden of her student loans weighs on her and her family.
“We’re very concerned about how we’re going to be able to take care of ourselves financially and be able to work and have the right mindset and make sure that we are paying for our classes and not being behind or delayed or have to forgo having to go to graduate school because we don’t have enough money,” Taylor said.
Taylor is determined not to delay the next step in her education, but that comes at a cost. She thinks about her family as she anticipates having to borrow an extra $20-30,000 in loans.
“I don’t know if there is even a word to describe the worries that I feel when having to decide, OK, how much money should I be saving, how many family members should I reach out to? How many loans should I take out to have a positive and stable path for my future career? And for my sister’s sake and my siblings’ sake, I’m worried how this will affect them and impact them in the future,” Taylor said.
Kuperburg said the study found the average graduate with debt has around $30,000 from a public university and $34,000 from a private university.