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Study projects the costs of student debt over a lifetime

Massachusetts is well-known for having a strong contingent of colleges and universities. In a state where education is highly valued, it's not uncommon for people to earn a four-year degree. While college is certainly a valuable experience and can provide advantages in professional environments, tuition bills often leave grads with several years' worth of student loan debt.

A recent report published by Demos, a research organization, looked at the lifetime costs associated with student loans. Using a statistical model, researchers projected the losses incurred by a two-income household with an average student debt load as compared to a household without the same debt burden.

In the end, the Demos study determined that a household with a combined $53,000 worth of debt for four-year degrees lost out on more than $200,000 over a lifetime when compared to a couple without outstanding school loans. At the same time, many observers note that a college education typically leads to higher incomes, despite the costs associated with loans.

As the job market edges toward recovery, the issue of student loan debt has been a hot topic. Recent graduates may have difficulty finding adequate employment, so debt can be incredibly burdensome. While loan bills stack up, debt relief options may be necessary. The reality is that many people may not be able to wait until the economy improves to gain control of loan payments.

One item worthy noting is that current bankruptcy laws don't allow student loans to be discharged. While this may be discouraging for struggling college graduates, there are still options available to chip away at debt and work toward greater financial security.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Average Student Loan Debt Could Cost A Household $208,000 Over A Lifetime: Study," Aug. 4, 2013

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