- Flickr/Romain Toornier
College tuition is one of the biggest purchases millennial graduates have made – and now many of them are regretting it.
In fact, 57% of millennial graduates regret taking out as many loans as they did, and 36% even said that they would not have gone to college if they knew how much it was going to cost them, according to a survey by Citizens Bank.
But what’s the alternative to an expensive education with suffocating loans?
Brendan Coughlin, president of consumer lending at Citizens Bank, encourages borrowers to get educated and informed on their loans rather than consider skipping higher education entirely.
“Do your homework and make sure you understand what it is you are signing up for when you take out loans for school,” Coughlin told Business Insider in an email.
As for millennial graduates who already signed on the dotted line, it’s about taking control of debt.
“As they graduate and start to contemplate future life events like home purchases and retirement, it becomes increasingly important for them to take control of their college debt, whether it’s through refinancing or other tactics that can help them limit its impact on their overall financial health,” Coughlin said.
Student-loan debt in the US has topped $1.3 trillion, but most millennials aren’t sure how much they really owe and how to get started.
The survey also revealed that the average time remaining for millennial graduates to pay off their student loans is 11 years, but 43% do not know exactly how many years they have remaining to pay off their loans, and 60% expect to still be paying off their loans into their 40s.
Fifty-eight percent of millennial graduates even reported that they underestimate their monthly student-loan payments and end up extending the time – as well as interest – on their loans.
Andrew Josuweit, founder of student-loan refinancing website Student Loan Hero, agrees that millennials need to take control of their commitment.
“Millennials spend several hours preparing their taxes, chasing a few hundred dollars, but aren’t willing to put in the same time creating a student loan game plan that can save them thousands,” Josuweit told Business Insider in an email.
Learning about different repayment methods – FinAid.org has a useful guide – and creating a “game plan” might keep you from brushing your loans under the rug or defaulting on them. That could have a major impact on your finances – or even your parents, if they cosigned – for years to come.
And though not all companies help their employees with student-loan debt, it could be worth it to look into those who do.