CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — Soon college graduates will put on their cap and gown. The Citadel, Charleston Southern University and The College of Charleston all have graduation ceremonies the weekend of May 6th. For many, this means they will have to start paying back their student loans.
According to student loan experts, the graduating class of 2016 has record levels of student loan debts. They have an average of $37,000 in student loan debt per student. That is a 6% increase from last year.
There is also some good news for these graduates. Starting salaries are also on the rise. The average entry level salary for those who graduated in 2015 was $43,000 a year. That is a 7.5% increase from 2014.
SIB in downtown Charleston has a bunch of recent grads in their office. Senior Vice President of Business Development Tom Loutrel explains why. “They haven’t established any bad work habits,” Loutrel explains. “A lot of them are eager and ready to go out and make their way in the world and make a good impression. They’re hungry and they’re often the first people to show up and the last people to leave.”
In recent years, the Federal government has stepped in to help out with student loan debt. Borrowers of loans starting in 2014 qualify for an option where they can pay based on 10% of their discretionary income. You can have some debt forgiven if you work at a non-profit or government job. There is even more forgiveness if you chose specific public jobs like working in Title I schools.
It takes some time and effort to determine which benefits you are qualified to receive, but it could save you thousands. Click here to learn more about student loan forgiveness programs.