STAUNTON, Va -- Taveyana Hampton, a Mary Baldwin College senior, studies psychology at the college and that has cost her more than $60,000 in student loan debt. She is starting to wonder how she will pay it all off after graduating.
“When I found out the amount of loans I have already, I was really surprised,” said Hampton.
Hampton is just one student out of thousands of graduates faced with a 5 percent increase in how much they owe in student loans. Some 2011 grads owe about $26,000 because of unemployment and rising tuition costs.
That extra 5 percent could have even more students opening their wallets to pay about $1,000 more in student loans, on top of loans they already might have.
Hampton's plan is graduate school and get a job to pay her loans.
“I have been worried if I don't get in, how I'm going to start paying the loans off.”
Salome Choi is another senior, and she studies math. She is an international student at MBC on several scholarships and avoided loans. Choi called the scholarships life-changing.
“They basically helped build a future for me, because if I hadn't had that, I wouldn't have been able to come at all,” said Choi.
Hampton said coming to college can mean putting off loans, but she has learned that she cannot put off paying her debt for too much longer.
“You're like too in love with the idea of college and that you're on your own that you don't think about how you're paying for it,” said Hampton. “Then your senior year comes around and you're look back and you're like, 'Wow, I owe all of this money,'” said Hampton.
State budget cuts have also lead to more debt for students because of fewer grants and tuition increases. Economists say that may keep students from going to college.
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