CONSIDER THIS: College graduates are finishing school with high hopes, bright futures—and decades’ worth of student debt.
Student Loan Hero estimates the average 2016 college graduate has $37,172 in student loans. All that money can take a decade or more to pay off. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau considers a standard payment term on a student loan to be about 10 years, although borrowers with more than $30,000 in federal student debt could be eligible for payment plans up to 25 years. A Pew Research Center survey found 16 percent of adults report having outstanding student loan debt left over from funding their own education. Of those respondents, 22 percent are between the ages of 30 and 44. Another 7 percent are ages 45 to 59. Overall, Americans owe more than $1.48 trillion in student loan debt, according to Student Loan Hero.