College grads carrying more debt than ever

9:09 AM, Dec 11, 2013   |    comments
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(WXIA) -- New data shows the average amount of debt young people carry after they graduate from college could be around the size of a down payment for a house.

The average debt for the Class of 2012 is $29,400 -- a 10 percent jump from a year earlier. In Georgia, the average student debt is $23,089.

That's according to a new report by the Institute for College Access and Success.

About 70 percent of college seniors leave school with debt, so this is a pretty significant nationwide challenge. But some regions seem to be a little worse off than others. The report says students in the East and Midwest tend to borrow much more than students in the West and South.

A little bit of relief may be in store. Just this week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it will begin to oversee non-bank student loan services for the very first time. About 40 million Americans use those kinds of providers to manage their loans.

The bureau said it tends to be confusing for students who want to pay down their debt early in order to avoid interest, especially when a loan is spread out over several servicers, as late fees can run up on that debt payment. Transferring loans can incur penalties too. The bureau is working to fix some of these headaches.

Debt associated with public nonprofit schools is much lower than for private schools, so the bureau says it's a good idea to shop around.

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