The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Young, Educated & Broke

Zoe is young, educated and broke. 


Ryan is too.

Both have jobs, mortgages and a lot of debt.

They are not alone.

Nearly two-thirds of young adult households have incomes under $50,000. One in five struggles with debt hardship. In other words, they spend more than 40 percent of their income to service debt. In fact, the average college-educated young adult has $19,000 in student loan debt and $10,000 to $15,000 in credit card debt.

Many of these graduates will relocate to high-tech centers across our nation and

command sufficient salary to comfortably pay off the debt, but for those who choose to locate here, many will face a challenging future. The median familyincome in Ohio is $51,966, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Furthermore, when adjusted for inflation, family income between 2000 and 2003 declined about eight percent in Oregon, Genoa and Lake Township, according to the Center for Community Solutions, a Cleveland based non-partisan research group.

It’s only $12.99 for a pizza for you and your buddies.

But add it to the $350 charged for textbooks, and the $35 for concert tickets and the $49 for new shoes, and opening the monthly credit card bill can be a shocker. There’s no way to pay the full balance off this month.

Can today’s college students really expect to graduate after four years (and maybe more) of higher education without amassing card debt?

Probably not. According to research conducted by Nellie Mae, a Massachusetts-based originator of student loans, 76 percent of college undergraduates began the school year in 2004 with credit cards. And the average outstanding balance was $2,169.

When students finally graduate from college, they’re eager to start earning huge salaries to erase the debt they racked up in the last four years. But that doesn’t always happen.

“It’s always something there above you,” says “Zoe”, holding her hand above her head while describing her life after college with student loan debt.

A 1997 graduate of a liberal arts college in Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and journalism, she left college with approximately $24,000 in loans through Sallie Mae, which began as a federal government sponsored entity and by the end of 2004 had completed a privatization process.

Today, after consolidating much of those loans and obtaining a deferment from 1999 to 2001, Zoe’s debt has swollen to $28,000.

“When you’re 22 an amount like $24,000 seems so abstract,” she says. “I don’t think you really grasp what it means to repay a debt like that. You’re still so optimistic.”



The Ohio legislature has passed a bill that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. In practice, that would make abortion illegal after six weeks.
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