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May 12, 2012 6:50 PM

Recent graduates now facing student loans

TUCSON - More than 4,000 undergraduates graduated from the University of Arizona Saturday morning. It was the 146th commencement ceremony, and more than 15,000 people filled the McKale Memorial Center to be a part of it.

While students like Lexy Garbarino are thrilled, they also know that new responsibilities lie ahead.

Responsibilities such as paying back their student loans.

"I'm graduating right now and I'm happy, but it's hard for me to think about that later," she said.

She's not alone. Student loan debt in the United States has now surpassed $1 trillion, putting it above credit card and auto loan debt.

For out of state students like Tim Arrigo, paying it back can be a real challenge.

"I'll probably have to just make some minimum payments and then when I accumulate a little bit of money, I'll be able to pay it all off," he said.

The most recent statistic puts the average student debt at $25,000, up 25% in the last ten years.

To save money, many students now find themselves moving back in with mom and dad.

"I have a friend who just moved home with his parents. You got to do what you got to do," Tyler Ellis said.

But some students aren't letting it get to them, saying they'll be debt free in the near future.

"I've got a $3,000 loan that will be easily paid off this summer," one student said.

Tim Arrigo agreed. "It's a bit of a concern, but I'm optimistic."

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