Back to School Means Mounting Student Debt for Some

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Students are facing increasing student loan debts as well as high credit card balances, without understanding the consequences after graduation

The average full-time undergraduate borrows more than $6,000 per year, resulting in almost $30,000 of student loan debt by the time they begin to repay their loans. To add insult to injury, the average balance on student credit cards is more than $2,000 while only 21% of students pay off their balance each month, according to a 2004 survey by Nellie Mae.

Bill Pratt, author of Extra Credit: The 7 Things Every College Student Needs to Know About Credit, Debt & Ca$h (Available August 2008), says "We are failing our students by not teaching them the fundamentals of personal finance, while sending them out on their own in a money-driven society." According to Pratt, more than 1.5 million college students are expected to drop out of college this year due to money issues.

"Students overestimate their after-graduation starting salaries by as much as 40% and they don't understand that they only get to keep about 65% - 70% of their checks after all the deductions," Pratt explained. "I want to get the message out to young adults about how to handle credit and debt. The more informed the students are up front, the better they will be able to make good money decisions."

Now in his early thirties, Pratt started writing financial advice just after college to help prevent others in his age group from making the same money mistakes he had.

"I was shocked when I saw how much rent I would have to pay just after graduation. Then when I got my first paycheck, my heart sank. I didn't even have enough left over to make my car payment. That's when I started to really understand personal finance."

Pratt delivers lectures for colleges, universities and high schools to help students with life and money questions.

"Debt and financial pressure is the number one reason students drop out of college; the number one reason for divorce; and the number one reason people feel stuck in the middle class," says Pratt. "My goal is to bring an energetic and fun message to campuses to stop such problems before they occur."

To get a copy of Extra Credit, log onto Extra Credit Book or To schedule an interview or a seminar, please call Bill Pratt at 301-788-2711.

Bill Pratt educates his audiences about how to make the best decisions with the right attitude to improve their own lives and the lives of those around them. To schedule an interview or a seminar, please call 301-788-2711.


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