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Student loans leave many seeking debt relief after graduation

The desire to attain a college degree is an admirable goal, and research shows that those who graduate from college will earn higher salaries during the course of their careers. The path toward earning a college degree, however, is often paved with high levels of debt in the form of student loans. While there are efforts underway to help reduce these costs, many recent graduates in the state of Florida are facing difficult decisions in the search for debt relief, just when they should be focused on beginning their career path.

It is estimated that as few as 17 percent of college graduates have a job lined up at the time of graduation. Student loan debt is now over the $1 trillion mark, and as many as 37 million grads are believed to be in serious financial straits just after graduation. For many, the need for debt relief is acute, and options may seem limited.

Efforts to expand President Obama’s “Pay as You Earn” program have been halted by apparent partisan voting. The program would give borrowers the chance to refinance their loans at a lower rate. It would also mean that borrowers would have to pay no more than 10 percent of each month’s income on student loan repayment. These and similar changes may be expanded in the coming months, but very few borrowers are currently receiving any form of debt relief related to their student loans.

In some cases, student loan debt is not the only form of debt that a college graduate faces. Many students relied heavily on credit cards to fund or augment their living expenses during college. Upon graduation, some find that they are buried under a mountain of debt, with little prospect of attaining lasting debt relief. For these Florida residents, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help eliminate many forms of consumer debt, leaving the filer free to begin paying down their student loan obligations.

Source: districtchronicles.com, "Trillion dollar education debt haunts students", Umarah Mughnee and Erika Whitehead, June 23, 2014

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