Many readers discussed the effect that repaying their loan debt has had on their spending habits and future plans:
My husband and I each have a private student loan. Our monthly payment total for just that loan is $1100 a month. Because of this we cannot afford to buy a house, start a family, travel and just about anything other than paying bills, rent and this loan.
- Stephanie O'Donnell-Peters
Student loans have had a huge impact on my life. I am not able to do the things most adults and newly married couples aim to do. I know buying a house will be a lot harder because of my loans. Starting a family will be delayed because of paying back student loans. My wife and I wish we could give back to the economy by purchasing a car and a house and starting a family, but we are extremely limited and handcuffed by our student loans.
- Matthew Sumrak
I recently got married and didn't want student loan debt to hold me back from starting a family. The only problem is I've just been putting everything in deferment and now I owe a ridiculous amount of money. We have to postpone having children and buying a home. We even have to postpone buying new cars; we can barely afford to make the repairs our current vehicles need and if we can't keep up with maintenance it's going to be a little challenging to get to work everyday. My grandmother co-signed for me and that has put a strain on our relationship because they constantly call her and email her.
- David Green
I set a goal for myself - not only to repay on time but to pay off my entire student loan as soon as possible. Since graduating two years ago I've been penny-pinching everyday: always buy things on sale, always pack lunch, etc. The good news is after two years of reckless saving, all my student loans are paid. It is not impossible. It just takes lots of hard work and a solid saving habit. - Cyrene Hastings
Many readers also wrote about how student loans influenced their career paths and college choice:
Student loans had a large impact on the school and on the career field I chose to enter. Knowing that many students have a difficult time paying back insurmountable debt from student loans; I chose to go to an in-state school which had significantly lower tuition costs. Resulting in smaller loan amounts taken out. I chose to get a degree in science (engineering) knowing that there is a demand in industry for people with that particular skill set. This assured me that I would be able to find a job and payback the loan I took to get a collegiate education.
- Harley Hoskins
I don't understand how young people are expected to succeed these days. Costs for school keep rising, and you can't get a job without education so you take out loans. You graduate and then suddenly the entry level jobs have disappeared and are replaced with unpaid internships. You work the same amount of time as employees and do it for free. How can I gain experience and sustain myself at the same time?
- Isabel C.
[Student loans] have allowed me to go to college that I couldn't otherwise afford without having to take money from my parents. Don't take out an unreasonable amount of loans, but don't let needing loans stop you from attending university. - James McClure