Double the Debt Could Hurt More Than Current Student Loan Borrowers

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. -- The clients who sit across from Noelle Carter are looking for help. Sometimes it's help dealing with student loan debt close to the state average, more than $32,000 according to a report from the state comptroller's officer. Other times, that sum can reach north of $100,000.

"They can't afford to move out of mom and dad's basement," said Carter, chief administrative officer for Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Buffalo. "They can't look at buying a home yet. They can't lease or buy a car yet because they have to get their student loan debt under control."

Carter says CCCS began offering student loan debt help four years ago, and this problem shows no signs of tapering off.

The average debt for New York grads has gone up 112 percent in the past ten years, according to the comptroller's report.

Some say the effects of rising student debt go beyond the doors of people who walk through the doors of counseling services like this one. One financial adviser says analysts are comparing the debt to the housing bubble. If it bursts, it could affect many people's wallets.

Jeff Boron is a wealth manager with The Financial Guys. Although default rates dropped for student loans in New York from 2012-2014, he says that's still being felt by anyone trying to take out a private loan.

"We'll see some of those interest rates climb, and we'll see some of the providers of those student loans just drop out of the industry," Boron said. "Some of the banks and lending institutions will just say, 'It's not profitable for us because we have such a high default rate.'"

Boron also heads the non-profit Send Your Kids To College, and says planning is the best way to avoid unmanageable debt. His group helps parents and students in high school to look at things like school costs and what jobs in students' desired fields pay.

Carter says the most important thing those overwhelmed with debt can do is get help from a not-for-profit that can counsel them on personal finance and not ignore the problem.

To read the comptroller's full report, visit this website

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