We talked to people overloaded with student loans.
Courtesy: Erik Solecki
Student debt: $185,000
Degree: Bachelor's in industrial engineering from Kettering University
Was my college degree worth it? Hell no.
I graduated from one of the top engineering schools in the nation, thinking my starting salary would be between $70,000 and $80,000 a year.
Such a specialized, technical degree is supposed to lead to a great career, so I was willing to take out the debt.
Instead, I was hit with nine months of unemployment after graduating. And now that I finally have a job, I'm making about $15,000 a year less than I had hoped.
Even if I were able to afford the $1,800 payments each month, it will probably take me 30 years to pay off my student loans.
I engineer high-end autos. Ironically, I'll probably never be able to afford one.
Courtesy: Saniquah Robinson
Student debt: $82,000
Degrees: Master's in Health Science from Chatham University; Bachelor's in psychology from Temple University
After holding my Master's for three years, I'm still fighting to find a Master's level position.
I have been seeking employment in the medical field and after about a hundred interviews, I'm left doing contract work for $19 an hour.
I once believed that part of the American Dream was to earn a college education and this would ensure a great career and financial freedom. Unfortunately I am losing hope.
I'm a mother of three, and my husband and I have been turned down from purchasing a home due to our income-to-debt ratio.
I don't want people to think they shouldn't go to college -- it definitely gives you a great foundation to start your career. But it's very important that when you do, you know exactly what you want to study and you're knowledgeable about debt.
Courtesy: Shane Dixon
Student debt: $72,800
Degrees: Master's in public health from University of South Carolina; Bachelor's in biology from Clemson University
In my early years after high school, I wavered between trade school and college, but eventually opted for college and earned a Bachelor's in biology.
I quickly found work, but at an abysmal wage of $7.25 per hour, which did not even allow me to live on my own.
After an exasperating year at that wage, I decided to go back to school and I graduated in 2004 with a Master's in Public Health, thinking I was on the road to recovery.
During that time, I had been married, had a child, gotten divorced, and ended up raising my son on my own. I took a low paying government job in Southern Florida, and because I couldn't even make the minimum payments on my debt, I took forbearance after forbearance.
I have had a good life, but now at age 37, the weariness of carrying this financial burden frustrates me to no end.
My son is nine years old now and will want to attend college when he graduates high school. But what will I tell him? First I have to decide if the college degree is worth the debt. I hope by the time he is making his decision, I will have figured it out.
Courtesy: Michelle Shipley
Student debt: $140,000
Degree: Bachelor's in political science and international development from Tulane University
Like many, I had no idea what money meant when I was 17. My family is not wealthy. I simply didn't have the information or knowledge to know what it would be like now.
I had to pay for college on my own and took out loans for everything - rent, food, books, tuition, etc.
Then, during my sophomore year, I lost everything to Hurricane Katrina. I finished my degree, but continued to take loans to make it possible.
I'm now working at a non-profit and I love it -- but I don't make much. I've been able to put off the payments through forbearance, but I know the $1,400 a month bills are coming soon. Not to mention, I've also racked up about $7,000 in credit card debt.
My debt is a life-swallowing, all-consuming, hole in my life. No college degree is worth that.