Student loan debt hits all time high
UNDATED (WHDH) -- It's not a pretty picture these days for young adults - as they venture out into the real world after college.
Beyond the struggle to find work in a challenging economy, many young Americans find themselves deep in the hole because of student loans.
The problems are getting worse with a record number of delinquencies now being reported.
A graduate student at the University of Southern California, 22-year-old Astrid Solorzano - will be $160,000 in debt before she lands her first job.
"I feel like that number doesn't process in my head yet, it's just this imaginary number that I am going to have to pay off,” said Solorzano.
She is one of the 26 million Americans saddled with a ballooning student loan.
Like her classmates Solorzano worries without a job after graduation, she'll become part of the record number of former students who are now defaulting or are delinquent in paying back their loans.
"Honestly, I don't know how I am going to do it,” said Solorzano.
With college costs on the rise, student loan debt is at an all time high.
Nationally the tab tops $870 Billion, surpassing credit card debt and even auto loans.
A new study shows, a third of former students are considered risky borrowers - graduates who don't pay back their bills.
"As many as half of all recent graduates are either unemployed or underemployed, so the problem tends to feed on itself and that is what we are dealing with here. That's why this is such an issue for the whole economy."
With the average student more than $27,000 in debt, more than a million graduates have now racked up an astonishing $100,000 in loans.
“A bunch of people who go to this school have that kind of money but a lot of us don't so it’s pretty difficult,” said Solorzano.
Next year, Astrid Solorzano will get her diploma and her first student loan bill.
"I do have a sense of fear like what am I going to do when I graduate,” said Solorzano.
She's one of many college seniors, worried about real life lessons in economics that come after leaving graduation.