Those burdens have even been linked with statistics that indicate young people today are living with their parents longer and postponing marriage until they’re older.
“I was talking to one of my classes last week and asking them about why we have a relatively high age of first marriage now,” Best said. “One of the things my students told me is that people today are making cold calculations about what kind of loan debt does this person have and can I afford this.”
Hundreds of high school seniors in Delaware could be at risk for joining the ranks of those saddled with unmanageable student loan debt based on decisions they make before attending their first lecture.
Lewes resident Amy Kobre accumulated $35,000 in student loan debt while pursuing her master’s degree in counseling from Capella University, an online school based in Minnesota
One element graduating seniors must consider is whether to and how much to borrow: the availability of jobs in their field of interest, and the future earnings potential of that line of work.
“You may want to be a zoologist,” the 52-year-old New Castle resident said. “But it’s not like there’s a lot of zoology jobs out there.”
He ended up owing about $20,000 when he graduated, but landed a good job and paid off his debts after 10 years.
“As we go forward, it’ll probably be even more difficult,” Haller said. “College costs are going up. And it’s faster than what your average college kid or average family can make.”
Another online payday loans Utah pitfall students who take out federal and private loans must avoid is leaving school before graduation. Those students end up with the financial burden of college without the job prospects that would enable them to pay off those debts.
Her loans are in deferment, but her son, Cape Henlopen High School senior Dylan Elkins, is now preparing to take on school loans of his own as he pursues a finance degree from the University of Delaware
Those with the really big balances more than $100,000 are less likely to find themselves in financial trouble because their educational investments produced a high return, careers in medicine and law, for instance.
Then there’s the matter of the chosen school’s cost. Students at for-profit colleges like the University of Phoenix, Strayer University and Corinthian College stand a greater chance of incurring student debt that they later find difficult to pay off than their peers at community colleges.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Education reported that students at for-profit colleges make up about 13 percent of the total higher education population, but account for about 31 percent of all student loans and nearly half of all defaults.
“I’ve been on him for years to make sure he applies for scholarships and grants, but he didn’t listen to me,” she said. “He knows any loans he gets are on him and I’m proud of him that he’s taking responsibility for that, but I do worry because I would have liked for him to be debt free for as long as possible.”
Students also expose themselves to greater risk by choosing to attend a school based on its prestige, rather than its cost.
“A lot of families and students decide that there are certain colleges and universities that will prepare their son or daughter better to be a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or to be a lawyer or a doctor,” said Christopher Lucier, the vice president of enrollment management at the University of Delaware. “And they decide to make choices to attend institutions where they are going to incur greater loan debt than if they had made a choice to go to their in-state institution.”