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While a college acceptance letter represents the culmination of hard work, perseverance, and academic success, it also represents a looming financial burden. For many young students across the country, the only way to finance an investment in higher education is by taking out large student loans. In fact, student loan debt in America now exceeds credit card debt.

College students typically begin taking out loans at the age of 18. As this report explains, student loan obligations can affect job prospects and family planning decisions. Yet, economists still suggest that these loans are a worthwhile investment, as college graduates earn approximately 65% more than high school graduates in their lifetimes.