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Published April 18, 2012, 10:33 PM

As Graduation Nears, College Students Face Mountains of Debt

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Big loan payments for UND students graduating next month could give some the graduation blues. Although all students are required to complete exit loan counseling, it doesn't take the load off of student's shoulders.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Big loan payments for UND students graduating next month could give some the graduation blues. Although all students are required to complete exit loan counseling, it doesn't take the load off of student's shoulders.

50 percent of UND grads will walk away with debt this year. Some only $10,000 down, but others like aviation major Logan Evans, will have some big bills to pay.

Although he has years of loans to pay, Evans says he's lucky he's not hundreds of thousands of dollars in the hole.

"It's unbelievable. I mean mine's not as bad as some people, but I really feel for some of those students because it's going to take them years and years to pay it off," Evans said.

And for those who want to further their education, they can't really see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"I am looking at Grad school, so that's two more years of lots of money paying," student David Ellingson said.

UND offers financial literacy programs to make sure students are knowledgeable about how much they will have to pay with interest and principle but sometimes that means making larger payments than necessary.

"Students can always pay a little bit more even if they pay 5 dollars more a month than they're supposed to be paying, it will really help reduce that loan debt quicker," Student Financial Aid interim Director Janelle Kilgore said.

But sometimes recent grads can barely make the cut.

"They can contact their lender in regards to what are some options to reduce the payments," Kilgore said.

If grads are unemployed, their payments will be drastically reduced. That is until they get that first paycheck. Then students are right back cutting big checks and frantically trying to pay off their debts.

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