What to consider before taking on student loan debt

Student loan debt: What to consider

In our Eye on Money series this week, we focus on the costly mistakes people make with their finances.

Student loan debt is a huge problem for many graduates and their families. College students graduate with an average debt of more than $28,000. Nationwide, student debt topped $1.5 trillion at the end of 2018, according to the Federal Reserve. 

So what should students and their families always consider before taking on student loan debt?

CBS News financial analyst Jill Schlesinger, author of "The Dumb Things Smart People Do With Their Money," advises families to set priorities:

  • Speak openly about what you can afford
  • Consider cheaper, nearby schools
  • Fund retirement before paying for children's college

For students, she also advised:

  • Be realistic about your chosen field of study
  • Read fine print of loan terms
  • Accelerate loan payments

If you have no choice but to take out student loans, only borrow a total of what you think you will earn in your first year of work, she also added.