August 16 marked the first day of college for over 2,000 UNCW freshmen. As they pulled up to their new home away from home, more than 1,900 volunteers clapped and cheered.
The volunteers said some of the heaviest items they carried were 50-inch TV's, refrigerators, and rugs as big as the dorm room. According to the Project Students Debt's website, at the end of four years these students are going to have an even bigger load to carry.
In 2012, 58% of UNCW seniors graduated with an average debt over just $25,000. However, UNCW students say they have turned the corner when it comes to student loans, and they are slamming the door on debt.
"What I try to do is apply to as many scholarships as possible," Brieanna Phipps explained. "That way if I get them all I will have an over flow. So this year I had around $2,000 extra so that will take care of student loans for this year."
Not everyone who applies for scholarships gets them. Freshman Haley Norris said she had to work all summer and is getting a job at school to help handle the cost. Haley and her family did take out loans, but they suggested splitting them.
"We're going about 75%-25%," Norris said.
No matter how you split it, the overall goal is to keep the cost low. Lawmakers said the student loan debt is hurting our economy, and it has reached an all time high of $1.3 trillion, making it higher than the U.S. credit debt.
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