College Graduates Face Real World And Often Very Real Debt - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/11/05-Tyler

College Graduates Face Real World And Often Very Real Debt

It's graduation time and for many college students and that means crossing the threshold into the "real world."
It also means a real look at debt. Student loan fees and credit card companies will be knocking hard at the door very soon.
Kervin Finley knows the value of a good college education. Now, the price of that education and some credit card bills are more than Kervin bargained for.
"Around my last two years I had to take out a loan," Kervin explained, "and it pretty much set me back, a lot. It's affecting me now."
Kervin graduated in 2001, and said even today, he has no idea when he will have his credit card bills and loans paid off.
"It's almost impossible," he said, "because the more you try to gain ground, the more you seemed to get knocked back."
Glyndel Corzin with Consumer Credit Counseling Services said she works with recent grads like Kervin all the time.
"Student loans, sometimes you can defer payments for a while but still the interest is accruing so that just makes your balance go up," Glyndel said.
So, she has some advice.
"I try to encourage not to use the credit cards. Make sure you are making only purchases that are necessary. Track your spending so you really know what you are spending money on," she said.
"Many times we can work to get the interest reduced on those credit cards."
That interest can add up quickly. Assume your credit card debt is $6,000 with an annual interest rate of 18 percent, a common rate.
It would take 40 years to pay if you make the minimum 2 percent monthly payments.
Your interest over that time is more than $15,000. That means $6,000 easily turned into $21,504. Tag on your student loan and you are looking at debt in the tens of thousands.
Kervin said he's working a step at a time to pay off his bill. He's now avoiding credit cards and hopes he can soon enjoy his salary, debt free.
Credit counselors also advise that college grads consider loan consolidation. Glyndel Corzin warns that not paying your student loans can lead to wage garnishing or even not getting a job because of bad credit reports.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com

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