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After graduation, many Oklahoma students enter workforce with mountain of debt

Alexandra Hall, an Oklahoma State University graduate, doesn't regret taking out loans to pay for her degree. But when she went through an exit counseling session and saw “Total Owed: $37,000” flash across her computer screen, she did feel a bit of panic.
by Silas Allen Published: May 17, 2013

Because nurses are in high demand, Hall said, she thinks a degree in nursing, combined with a degree in Spanish, will put her in a good position to find a job when she graduates from OSU-OKC.

Although she'll be paying down her student loans for years to come, Hall said she thinks the decisions she made will pay off.

“With the knowledge I have now, I wouldn't hesitate to make the same choice again,” she said.

Independent student loan consultant Heather Jarvis said it's important for graduating students to get an inventory of all their student loans as soon as possible. Students with federal loans can find records on the National Student Loan Data System website,

Students with private loans can see those loans on their credit reports, available for free at

It's also a good idea for borrowers to make sure their loan servicers have their most current contact information. If a student moves after graduation and the loan servicer doesn't have his or her new address, it could cause problems when the loans go into repayment, said Jarvis, who has written several columns on student loans for national publications.

Most federal loans offer a six-month grace period before students must begin repaying. During that period, borrowers should review their repayment options and find a plan that works well for them.

“If you don't select your own repayment plan, one will be assigned to you, and it might not be the best one for you,” Jarvis said.

For students who have a difficult time finding work after they graduate, income-based repayment might be a good option. That option gives students a more manageable repayment option than the standard payment plan, she said.

Students who have private student loans may find that they don't have the same options, such as grace periods, for repayment that federal loans offer. Those students should speak with their loan servicers to see what options they have, she said.

by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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