First, the good news. The class of 2017 is graduating into one of the best job markets in recent memory. Hiring is up 23%, a survey of 4,350 employers by Michigan State University found. And employers plan to boost starting salaries by 4% compared to last year.
Now, the bad news. The average amount of student loan debt for a 2016 graduate is more than $37,000, according to Student Loan Hero. That’s up 6% from 2015. And roughly 70% of newly minted graduates borrowed to pay for college. That means there are a lot of people staring down a pretty substantial debt as they’re trying to get their feet in the working world.
Almost everyone agrees those high levels of debt are a big problem. Although an undergraduate degree is a prerequisite for many jobs these days, burdensome debt means the youngest generation of workers often struggles to pay of their loans, even if they do land a decent job. Over 40% of borrowers are either behind on their payments, in default, or are putting off paying their loans because of financial hardship, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Once the excitement of graduation wears off, many recent grads are going to take a look at their student loan paperwork and wonder, “Now what?” And it’s no wonder they might be confused. Student loans might be their first introduction to the world of “grown-up” finances.
To help navigate the transition from college student to responsible adult, we’ve pulled together eight essential facts all borrowers should know about their student loans.