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How Do You Get To $1 Trillion In Student Loan Debt?

CHICAGO, Jan. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey on college costs and college selection finds that three out of four U.S. families are willing to increase their student loans or debt, take on a second job, or sell a car, so their children can attend college. This despite the fact that college affordability and excessive student loan debt are the top two concerns parents have when it comes to college.

"These survey results point directly to the reason student loan debt is outpacing credit card debt for the first time in history—we continue to push a college selection timeline that forces families to make poor financial decisions," said Frank Palmasani, a veteran guidance counselor and former college admissions director, creator of the Financial Fit™ program, and author of Right College, Right Price . "What is needed is a radical change in how families approach their college search."

The survey by CollegeCountdown.com, which polled more than 3,000 adults with at least one college-bound child in their household, also found that nearly 80 percent of respondents reported some level of anxiety associated with paying for college.

A quarter of the parents surveyed, however, have not factored college affordability into their search process, while 46 percent are unsure how much total debt is their child is willing to take on to pay for college and 38 percent are unsure how much household debt they are willing to commit.

"Families are told 'don't look at the sticker price—it's not real,' and they believe it because it's true," said Palmasani. "But that doesn't necessarily mean that a school is going to be affordable. Under a blanket of false security, students spend junior and early senior year selecting colleges, testing, and applying, all the while falling more and more in love with their top pick, which may well be unaffordable."

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