More Kentucky college students facing debt

By: Katie Roach Email
By: Katie Roach Email

The amount of college students who are in debt is growing.

More than half of students in Kentucky have an average of around $19,000 in student loans.

Kentucky is below the national average which is a little more than $25,000, but for many people student debt can be overwhelming.

When Jeremy Lucas went to Morehead State University after graduating high school, he never dreamed six years later he would be out of school with no degree.

"When I was there, I just kind of thought, 'oh this is okay. I just take out these loans, and when I am done then I can just pay them off.' And then reality kind of hit," said Lucas.

In just two years, Jeremy had racked up more than $10,000 in student loan debt so he decided to put his degree on hold to try to pay that debt off.

"I've moved back home where the cost of living is a little less and pretty much all that I am making is going to pay of my student loans," said Lucas.

Many students in Kentucky are facing the same problem that Jeremy is, but officials at UPike say there are some ways to keep that debt from piling up.

"We work real hard at educating our students about student debt. They know right up front what is on their financial aid award letter. We let them know what free money is versus what student debt is," said Judy Bradley who works as the director of student financial services.

She says she works with students to make sure they know coming into college how much debt they will have at the end.

But for Jeremy Lucas, he did not know how he would pay all that debt off especially with an uncertain job market.

"You work for four years, and you think, 'yes, I've done it. I made it.' Then you realize you will be paying it off for years to come," said Lucas.

Jeremy Lucas has been out of school for two years, but he does plan to go back to school and study nursing once he gets his previous loans paid off.

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