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Wisconsin student debt harming local economy, study finds

Overwhelming student loan debt creates financial challenges for many Wisconsin students. For some, the repayment terms prevent them from making other large purchases, like buying a house or purchasing a new car. For others, the financial challenges caused by student loans mean they have to seek debt relief. A recent study of Wisconsin college graduates showed just how difficult these struggles could be.

Student loan debt across the nation now exceeds $1 trillion, and the study, performed by the Institute for One Wisconsin, indicated that this debt is harming the Wisconsin economy. According to the institute’s director, it can take students more than 10 years to repay what they owe. Because of the size of the average monthly payment, this often prevents them from making larger purchases, like that of a home or car, which would put more money into the state’s economy. Even once they find a job, these students cannot make the purchases young adults used to be able to make because the money they earn all goes to their student loans.

According to the study, a student who takes out a loan but does not finish a degree is still left with a monthly average debt payment of $268. This increases to $350 for those with a bachelor’s degree and $448 for graduate students.

Getting relief from student debt is challenging, particularly after the reforms to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code during the 1990s, but it is not impossible. Debt relief is available for graduates and former students who truly cannot pay their loans and need a fresh start. The process begins with learning about these relief programs, so graduates can begin benefiting from the degree they received rather than living daily with the financial challenges of overwhelming student debt.

Source: Wisconsin Radio Network, “Study outlines impact of student loan debt,” Andrew Beckett, Dec. 11, 2012

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