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3 On Your Side: Student Debt Rising Across The Country

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- As the stock market continues its rocky ride, many are concerned about the impact on the economy.

But personal debt is part of the economic picture too.  As the nation's collective student loan debt climbs further past the one trillion dollar mark, 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan finds even that plays a role.

All across college campuses, student debt is rising.

"I'm 19 going on 20, and I already owe $30,000. I can't explain it. If you're not in debt, it's a hard feeling to understand.  So it is very emotional," said college student, Emily Vo.

Emily Vo chose in-state tuition over private school, cut her spending, and worked full-time this summer at a doctor's office.  It's probably not enough.

"Most parents and students think they'll be paying off student loans for 5-10 years. The reality is it's probably a lot longer than that," said Mary Morris with College Savings Foundation.

Morris says those first years off campus can be different with debt.

"No matter how much that is, it's a bit of a struggle when you first get started. They have to delay, sometimes, buying a home, getting married, having children," said Morris.

"Students are having to take longer and longer to reach a phase when they can be truly independent," said Anthony Carnevale with Georgetown University.

And that extended time, has reshaped the entire U.S. economy.

"It distorts their own lives. It creates distortions in the economy and reduces growth because they're inhibited from going because they're afraid of debt. They're debt-averse," said Carnevale.

A recent study by the Pew Research Foundation shows more millennials are living with their parents than five years ago, despite a drop in the millennial unemployment rate, and a rise in their earnings.


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