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Survey - Loans have big effect

June 04, 2006

College students are finding that student loans affect their lives as much as their education does, according to a recent survey.

Almost seven out of 10 respondents are paying off student loans or have spouses who are, and the average outstanding balance is greater than $29,000. Almost 40 percent of graduates with college debt expect to take more than 10 years to pay off their loans.

Forty-four percent of respondents with college debt have delayed buying a house, while 32 percent have been forced to move back in with mom and dad. More than a quarter have put off a dental or medical procedure because of their financial situation.

Higher interest rates are also weighing on their minds. More than half of those paying off college or graduate school debt believe that continued hikes in interest rates will have a "major impact" on their ability to pay off student debt. Already, 29 percent regularly or occasionally miss payments.

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The Internet poll was sponsored by AllianceBernstein Investments Inc. The poll surveyed 1,508 college graduates ages 21 to 35.

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