SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — So you want to go to college?
Dig deep — it’s going to cost you.
Fresh with a degree in economics, Estevan Lopez is sporting a nice suit and good job with the Bay Area Council.
He’s also in hock up to his ears, paying off thousands of dollars in student debt from San Francisco State University.
Estevan is just 1 in some 40 million college graduates nationwide who owe on average $37,000 and must cough up about $300 a month paying off student loans.
He’s on a 10-year plan to pay it off.
But not everyone is so lucky.
Some live with their folks, while others live in their cars.
Many may never be able to pay off their crushing student loans.
Students looking at a pile of debt are learning the hard way.
Going to college may make you smarter, but it could also make you poorer.
Higher tuition fees coupled with a skyrocketing cost of living here in the Bay Area means mounting bills for students and their families.
Allison Savage Brooks is a high school senior setting her sights on an Ivy League college, and she’s also staring at a massive loan obligation.
But rather than borrowing money and struggling to pay it off, Allison is cracking the books.
Not just her textbooks, but a giant catalog book of cash available to students.
And it’s hardly chump change.
We’re talking about a whopping $135 billion — untapped, because of the red-tape involved.
More than 130 questions to answer, and some 100 other forms and applications.
Many students may not even know about the treasure trove of scholarships and grants available, and nearly half of those qualified will give up because of the bureaucratic maze.
And that’s where Amira Yahyaoui comes in.
Amira is an international human rights advocate and millennial who’s worried that the crushing burden of student debt is putting the American dream out of reach.
So she and her team cracked the code and created MOS.
A tap of the smartphone allows you to tap into cash for college and still concentrate on your studies.
She says 40 percent of student borrowers are projected to default on their loans in the next 5 years.
Amira admits that unlocking financial aid is only the first step, but it’s a start in facing down the student debt crisis one student at a time.
And for the next generation of college grads — a chance at higher education without a lifetime of indebtedness.