AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) - Going to college and then getting a job, are two things that seem to go hand in hand. But a new report reveals that college graduates are struggling with debt and tuition costs are just half the battle.
The TransUnion report found that the average college graduate owes close to $27,000 in education debt. And with an estimated 13% of 18 to 29-year-olds out of a job, repaying student loan debt is becoming even harder.
"My parents had to take out a home equity and you know it's tough. But me and my sister plan on paying ourselves when we get out," said UMass junior Robert Matuszczak of his parent's effort to send him and his sister to college. He'll graduate with a $40,000 student loan balance.
Matuszczak's part of a growing trend of deeper and more debt. Student loan balances have jumped more than half in the last seven years. The statistic is sobering for Jessica Armstrong, who doesn't have student loans.
"I chose UMass because it's a public school. Through UMass I was able to afford to go to school without any loans," said Armstrong inside the Campus Center.
That's not the case for her sister who attends a private university and will be in debt "$150,000 by the time she gets out," Armstrong said.
But getting a degree is also becoming more expensive. Tuition costs at public colleges and universities across the country have gone up 5%. UMass is on that list, in-state tuition for the 2012-2013 academic year went up almost $600.
"My friends that went to private school are all in debt right now. And I went to UMass and ended up with no debt at the end because of financial aid and keeping my grades up," said Alexander Lombardi, a graduate student.
The study also found that more than half of student loan accounts are in deferred status, meaning repayments are temporarily postponed.