Millennials' ball-and-chain: Student loan debt

Monday, July 1, 2013

Shayna Pilnick, 28, would like to buy an apartment but can't afford a mortgage.

Jacqueline Mannino, 23, and her boyfriend, Benjamin Prowse, 26, want to get married.

Jacob Childerson, 24, and his wife, Jennifer, 25, wish they could start a family, but they live with Jennifer's parents.

What's holding them all back: tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Like countless Millennials across the country, they find themselves tethered to that debt load, stuck between the desire to become fully independent adults and not being able to afford the financial and cultural milestones traditionally associated with young adulthood.

Rising tuition costs and an anemic job market are feeding this vicious cycle, as a generation with more student loan debt than any other is struggling to find its economic footing.

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