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Student Loan Statistics: You’re Not Alone

For most Americans, a college degree remains a sound investment. According to research from Georgetown’s Center for Education and the Workforce, those with bachelor’s degrees earn $2.3 million over their lifetimes, about $1 million more than their counterparts with only high school degrees.

But the spiraling cost of that education has created a significant obstacle for many seeking a better life, particularly those in the middle class. Over the past 30 years, the cost of a college education has increased by more than 1000%, far outpacing inflation. And that’s led to some startling student loan statistics.

A Growing Crisis in Student Debt

In 1992, fewer than half of all college students used loans to help pay for their college educations. By 2007, that number had increased to more than 66%. Not only are more students going into debt, they’re also borrowing more than in the past. Over the past 15 years, the average amount of student debt for college graduates increased from $15,000 to more than $24,000, and about 1 in 10 students will now graduate with more than $40,000 in college loans. As a result, total student debt now stands in excess of $1.2 trillion.

Explore All of Your Options

If you’re a high school student exploring your options for college, or a current college student or recent graduate with rising debt, it might be comforting to know that there are millions of other students in the same situation. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the steps necessary to lessen your burden, or to lower the amount of your monthly loan payments.

That process actually begins in your junior and senior years of high school. You need to work closely with your high school guidance counselor to explore all of the options for obtaining a degree in your chosen field of study. For example, an increasing number of students are saving money by enrolling in community colleges for their first two years and then transferring their credits to four-year institutions. Others are foregoing private colleges for less expensive state schools, many of which provide both a superior education and many of the same amenities offered by a private education.

Consider Debt Consolidation

If you’ve already graduated with significant debt, you should consider working with a reputable debt consolidation service provider that can help you reduce your interest rate and monthly payments, help you pay back your loans more quickly, and give you sound financial management advice once your loans have been repaid.

The bottom line is that, even as college costs and student debt continue to rise, you still have options. Take the time to plan carefully and seek the advice of experts who can point you toward a stronger financial future.

For more information on student loans, also see:

Student Loan Help and Information

College Budgeting Advice

Student Loan Consolidation

Federal vs Private Loans

Types of Student Loans

Student Loan Repayment Options

Applying For Student Loans