The cost of a college degree these days can be daunting, especially if you are like most people and can’t afford to pay for it outright. Over the past couple of decades, we have seen a decline in the economy and a rise in unemployment, yet one thing that has not followed this trend is the cost of a college education.

College tuition has increased exponentially over the years, making it nearly impossible to pay for college on your own. Fortunately, there is no shortage of companies willing to float you a loan, even though you likely have no credit history and they have no proof that you’ll be equipped to pay it back, but they will certainly make sure you do!

Students are now forced to take on so much debt that it could take more than a decade to pay it back, depending on how much you owe. If you are lucky enough to find a job right after you graduate, your new-found freedom is quickly trumped by the looming debt you have accrued over the past four years.  You will soon find that there is little to no room for discretionary savings, a “rainy day fund” or even the ability to purchase that shiny new car you’ve been eyeing for the past few years.  You are trapped under a pile of student loan debt and you cannot move into true, financially-independent adulthood until they are all paid off.

While student loan interest rates tend to be fairly low, they will increase, dare you miss a payment.  This will only make things worse, so you feel as if you cannot buy anything else until this debt is paid.  You may be driving a car from the last decade, but your monthly student loan payment is more than a new car payment would be, so you have to stick it out and pay off the loan before you can get a new car.

Maybe you’re lucky enough to have a car that is fairly new, but you’d love to buy a house, a townhouse or a condo.  These purchases can take years to save for, and if you’re putting all your “would be” savings into your student debt, it will take longer than you thought to pull enough money together for these luxuries.

There are companies out there that have student loan forgiveness programs to help people figure out the best way to pay back what they owe, so they can start saving money for the things they really want. These programs allow graduates to breathe a little easier, knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

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