SPRINGFIELD, Mo -- Average student loan debt recently topped $25,000--that's up 25 percent in 10 years. Paying for those loans have become a heavy burden nationwide.
You go to college to get a degree. You use that degree to get a job. That job pays for the student loans you had to take out. Lately, that's easier said than done; that mounting debt has become the biggest weight on American's shoulders.
"It's an exhausting weight. It really is," said Suzanne Smith.
"I have accrued over $40,000 in debt," said Dior Toynton.
"That student loan is more costly than what my house payments are," said Teresa Griffen.
One trillion dollars laid end to end could reach the sun from Earth. It's enough to buy every sports team on the planet, and according to the Associated Press it's now the total for U.S. student loan debt.
"Those student loans rack up. Then you are stuck with this huge monthly payment," said Smith.
"It's like we're blindsided. All of a sudden you have all of this money tied up in this. You're thinking, 'now what do I do?'" said Griffen.
That debt has surpassed credit card and auto-loan debt.
"There are nights you sit and bed," said Smith, "with your eyes at the ceiling thinking, 'how are we going to do it?'"
"I chose to pay it off in 20 years. I'm actually going to be paying quadruple the amount," said Toynton.
"I've seen people make mistakes with their student loans. They think, 'I'm going to get my student loans so I can pay my rent payment.' No, don't use debt to pay for debt," said Toyna Collister with Consumer Credit Counseling Service.
According to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, most of the debt rides on the shoulders of those older than 30.
"When you figure all these kids and all these people out there that are getting into this position, what is that going to do to the economy. It's pulling the rug out from under us again," said Griffen.
Unlike other kinds of debts, student loans never go away. "It is the only type of debt that is not forgiven in bankruptcy," said Collister.
The worry by economists is that the debt will eventually catch up with us and put Americans in the same crisis as the housing crash.
"It's like a snowball rolling downhill. It's not going to get smaller. It's going to get bigger and bigger," said Griffen.
According to the College Board, the average cost to live and study on campus at a public university rose 5.4% for in-state students. Meanwhile, tuition at the average public university jumped 8.3%. The cost of college is getting more expensive, the loans are not getting any smaller, and jobs to pay for those loans are still not plentiful.