For the first time ever, student loan debt is higher than credit card debt. Nationally it has reached $1 trillion. Students are dealing with the rise of tuition and the constant battle of paying for college.
“We try our best to make sure they understand if there is gift aid and loan aid, that they know the difference,” said Randy Sell, UNO Director of Financial Aid.
The difference may be the cause for the record high $1 trillion in student loan debt.
“We're also hopeful that the student will take the time with a parent or spouse or someone and really look at what kind of loan they need and borrow it responsibly,” said Sell.
Responsible is what Joselyn Whitney has been all through college.
“I had a lovely little college fund set up when I was younger. And then I became an R.A. on campus to kind of eliminate some debt,” said Whitney.
She’ll graduate virtually debt free. But that's not a reality for everyone.
“I'm doing federal loans so I’m not really thinking about it. I know I have to pay it back eventually but right now it just seems like college is paid for,” said junior Sophia Haorei.
Haorei knows what she's getting herself into but isn't worried.
“I'll pay it off eventually,” said Haorei.
“It surprised me actually because you're going to school but you're going in debt to go to school,” said Tanner Dickui.
Dickui is a freshman at UNO. He is in the military, so his college is paid for, but he is amazed at how many of his peers are already in debt.
“I see how it could balance out if you get a good career,” said Dickui.
That’s not always the case in tough economic times.
“I see a lot of debt, I see a lot of scary people going into the workforce kind of behind,” said Whitney.
They are behind in debt that they didn't realize was piling up.
About five years ago Congress lowered the interest rate for federal loans. But in July that rate jumps from 3.4% to 6.8%.