College debt hits new high among U.S. households - – Rockford’s News Leader

College debt hits new high among U.S. households


College debt is at an all time high in the U.S. With 1 in 5 households dealing with piling bills, recent grads and even graduates from decades ago are struggling to make their payments.

"You want to give your children the best that you can, and send them to good schools, and give them everything that they need," says Jamie Wehrle, a mother of two, still in debt from college. "And to have that and worry about, paying your mortgage and groceries and all the things that you have day to day, it's pretty tough to also have that on your list of bills to pay."

College debt is a daily battle for the Wherle family. They're still paying off Jamie's husband's student loans, from Rockford College, from years ago. They're not alone. A recent study by the Pew Research Center says 10% of U.S. households with student loans owe more than $61,000, up almost $8,000 from 2007.

"People are still dealing with it, because they have chosen long repayment terms, or in many cases, are taking out additional debt to fund their children's education, which ultimately then costs them the inability to save for retirement and support their own living expenses," says Kelly Eickstead, Vice President and Marketing Manager at Riverside Community Bank.

Debbie Vischulis agrees. She's getting ready to send her daughter off to college next year, hoping she earns some scholarships for her good grades.

"Our daughter has been really focusing on doing the best she can," Vischulis says. "She's in the top 2% of her class right now, and she's looking at working really really hard to help reduce that impact for not only us, but also for her, too, as well."

A couple of things experts suggest to help. Make sure you absolutely must have any loan you take out. And if possible, get a job while you are in school, so you have some money to start paying your loans off right away.

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