How to approach the student loan debt crisis

COLUMBIA (WACH) -The cost of college has reached a new milestone of over a trillion dollars, crippling students and their future.

George Jameson, a financial advisor with Discipline Managaement Financial, sat down on Good Day Columbia to offer advice to common questions and misconceptions about student loans debt.

Q. What would you say to college students entering or thinking about attending college about student loan debt?

A. Don't assume you have finish college with lots of debt. Many finish with NO debt.

B. If you don't have the resources, consider other options:

  • Go to a technical college and transfer

  • Go to region campuses and transfer

  • Work and make extra money to cover expense

  • A graduate with experience is way above the rest

C. Choose the right college: "One you can afford"

D. Stay at home and commute to campus

E. Avoid the debt trap: "the notion that I am going to not limit my debt and I will just pay when if finish."

Q. What do say to those who are graduating and have lots of debt?

A. Don't increase your lifestyle too fast.

  • Too many buy too much house and cars before addressing student debt.

B. Don't beat yourself up.

  • Debt is bad unless you can make more off the debt than the debt cost you. Meaning, an investment in a college degree increases earning potential over $1M over a lifetime.

C. Get focused on the Debt:

  • Use student loan exit counseling

  • Pay attention to paperwork.

  • Make sure you are watching the mail.

  • Review all your loans.

  • Pay from highest interest to lowest.

  • Accelerate your payments, pay more than the monthly requirement

  • Consider consolidation

Q. What are professional options to help students pay back student loans?

A. There are several occupations that may help you get some of your debt forgiven.

  • Teaching: If you have a federal loan and teach in a low-income area, you may be eligible to have a portion of the loan cancelled.

  • Dentistry and Medicine: Health care professionals may be able to have their loans forgiven by working with underserved groups or regions. (

  • Law: Law students who work in public interest or non-profit position may be eligible for government grants to pay off student loans. (

  • Public service: The U.S. government offers a

    loan forgiveness program

    for employees who have made at least 120 qualifying monthly payments.

  • Volunteering: A number of volunteer programs make you eligible for grants for paying back student loans. These include the AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and the Volunteers in Service to America.