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Student loans challenge those struggling with overwhelming debt

Life has always been a challenge for recent college graduates. The hunt for a job and the struggle to start a decent life in the "real world" can be difficult even in the best of times. Unfortunately, Fair Isaac Corp., better known as FICO, says the problem with graduates' personal debt from student loans is worsening. Delinquent student loan payments have risen to 15 percent over the past two years -- up from 12.4 percent from 2005 to 2007.

Today's average student loan debt is about $27,253, making debt a big problem for young people trying to find jobs in a slow job market. With student loans generally not eligible to be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, people with the burden of student debt may find it unbearable if they continue to face financial challenges in the coming years.

FICO says student loan delinquencies are expected to worsen over the next six months. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau cites student loans as the country's largest source of unsecured debt. With student debt topping $1 trillion, students and graduates owe more than the nation's consumer credit card debt.

It's understandable that students don't graduate from college with the intent to file for bankruptcy. Ideally, most wish to land jobs right away and begin paying off their debt while building their lives. But as many people are still struggling with debt in a poor job market, some may attempt to find debt relief. Consulting with a bankruptcy attorney may be a way for those crushed with student loans and other debt to make a fresh financial start.

Source: Bloomberg, "Overdue Student Loans Reach 'Unsustainable' 15%, Fair Isaac Says," Elizabeth Dexheimer, Jan. 29, 2013

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