Melissa Henderson is stuggling with her student loan debt and how she is going to over come it.
USC Direcor of Financial Aid and Scholarships Joey Derrick says students should be taught how to handle their studet debt and borrow responsibility.
Sophomore Ashley Popour is already struggling to make ends before graduation. She is already worried about going into debt after graduation.
By Jazmine Greene
Edvisors.com, a website that advises students on how to handle their student debts, reports that student loan debt has reached $1.2 trillion dollars in the United States. USC student Melissa Henderson is one of the 70 percent of students who graduated college with a heavy student loan debt.
"I had almost $20,000 in loans. I'm not even graduated yet. How am I ever going to afford this. I have a thousand dollars to my name", says Henderson.
Her debt issues are ones many college students are facing these days. Fidelity.com reports that the class of 2014 is the most indebted class ever. USC Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships Joey Derrick says many USC students face heavy loans.
"In our most recent graduating class... there were 44% of students who graduated with one or more student loans and the average amount at graduation was twenty eight thousand two hundred dollars," says Derrick.
Henderson, a 2012 engineering graduate worked four different jobs through college and is expecting to pay off her student loans by 2022 because of her large savings.
"Initially when you graduate you're like I'm free... let me go on this trip or let me go here... but if you have loans and financial responsibilities you really have to look at what you can afford", says Henderson.
However, Henderson's situation is not the norm and many students like USC sophomore Ashley Popour are struggling to make ends meet.
"I'm not on meal plan this year so that means before I came to school I had this lady I go to church with... who I love to death... and she took me out to Sam's and bought a few hundred dollars worth of groceries for me to bring to school just to make sure I would eat," says Henderson.
When deciding whether or not to take out student loans, Abacus Financial Adviser Eddie Kramer offered a few tips to help reduce student debt.
"Use student loans only to pay for your education, research your field of study and expected salary, and keep your debt under seven percent", says Kramer.
Financial adviser Joey Derrick says students must decide how much debt they are able to handle before they start to borrow.
"It comes down to the individual. It comes down to their drive... their motivation... and their future," says Derrick.
Henderson thinks she is taking the necessary steps to pay off her student loan debt and move on with her life.