Some Students Are Leaving College With Huge Private Loans

Ann McClure's picture
Monday, December 5, 2011

Megan Connors of Harford County says she got a great education at Auburn University but a brutal lesson on private student loans.

Federal aid wasn't enough to cover four years at the Alabama school, so Connors made up the difference with private loans. Now, four years after graduation and working at a job far afield from her major, the prekindergarten teacher struggles to repay about $101,000 in private loans.

"If I knew I would be in this much debt, I probably wouldn't have pursued a four-year degree," says the 30-year-old, whose retired parents help with the loan payments.

Granted, Connors' case is unusual. But it's a dramatic example of how some young adults have relied on private education loans to fulfill a college dream, not realizing the long-term financial consequences to themselves and the family members who co-sign. It's an issue that has long concerned student advocates — and now Congress.

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