Many companies featured on Money advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research determine where and how companies may appear. Learn more about how we make money.

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

Getty Images

In terribly unsurprising news, student loan borrowers in the class of 2016 are going to graduate with a record level of debt, according to a new report. This year’s magic number is $37,172 — among the roughly 70% of students who will graduate with loans, that’s the average amount of debt they have.

The figures reported come from an analysis conducted by Mark Kantrowitz, a higher education and student loan debt expert. Like other, similar analyses, Kantrowitz’s estimates of average education debt have gone up with every new graduating class for more than a decade. There’s little reason to believe the class of 2017 would be an exception to this unpleasant trend.

NEWSLETTER: COLLEGE_PLANNERSign up for COLLEGE_PLANNER and more View Sample

Read More: Paying Off Your Student Loans With Forgiveness Programs

Wages haven’t kept pace with growing student loan debt (though the starting salary for college grads has gone up recently), but regardless of what their first jobs end up paying, borrowers have to find a way to stay on top of their loans. Considering that a person’s ability to repay student loan debt has a significant bearing on their credit scores, and as a result, their financial future, this ever-climbing average debt figure can be really scary for future students. (We recently wrote about a high school student who chose to not attend her dream school purely because of the debt she’d have to take on to do it.)

Read More: How Student Loans Can Impact Your Credit Score

Best college education image

Ideally, students can find a way to minimize their debts by choosing cheaper schools, finding scholarships, earning college credit in high school or working to pay some education expenses, but even those strategies often aren’t enough to pay for college without student loans.

Read More: Credit Guide for College Graduates

No matter what your student loan situation looks like, keep in mind that there are some repayment options that might make your debt more manageable. By making your loan payments on time every month, you can build good credit, which will come in handy if you ever want to get an auto loan or a mortgage — that is, once you’ve paid off that soul-crushing education debt, of course.

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

EDIT POST