College debt could cripple economy

Debt from student loans is at an all time high.

That could slow our economic recovery.

More folks are attending college than ever before and borrowing at record levels to do it.

"I'm going for nursing," says freshman Grant Voisnet attending Saginaw Valley State University. He received a tuition scholarship, but he says, "I still have to pay for room, board, and books."

He's one of the lucky ones. The class of 2011 is the most indebted ever. According to, the average graduate owes around $23,000.

"I'm not surprised," says Kelsey Ginter, a communications major.

USA Today reports total student loans outstanding will exceed a trillion dollars this year, and in many cases that debt can't be shed in bankruptcy.

SVSU spokesperson JJ Boehm says, "You need to make sure you recognize you are going to have to pay that money back."

Financial experts warn student graduating deep in debt will put off buying a car or a home and that could put mean major problems for the economy in the future.

Computer software major Corey Mitchell says, "What I'm going for I think I'll be able to pay back my loans in 15 or 20 years."

Boehm tells NBC25 the investment could pay off. More college grads mean higher per capita income and lower unemployment.

Voisnet hopes that's the case but wishes the government would step in. "We are the future of this state and if they have to pay back this many loans they won't go to college and won't contribute to Michigan's economy which is not that good."