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Student loan debt cutting into Wisconsin car dealers, real estate business

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - One of every five U.S. households has student loans to pay back – and in Wisconsin, it’s cutting into the business that car dealers and real estate agents would otherwise be doing.

A survey by the liberal Institute for One Wisconsin shows that only a third of Wisconsin adults with college loans would buy a new vehicle over a used one. But 52 percent of young adults without student loans would buy new.

As for home ownership, some college graduates say it’s nothing more than a dream.

The Wisconsin survey showed that 85 percent of renters making $50-75,000 a year are paying student loans – and the percentage decreases for those making $150,000 or more.

Wisconsin college graduates with bachelor’s degrees are paying an average of $350 a month on their student loans, while those with graduate or professional degrees are paying back $448 a month.

Student loan debts average 19 years for bachelor’s degree-holders, and 22 years for those with advanced degrees.

Michael Collins, who heads the Center for Financial Security at UW-Madison, says society needs to be more concerned about college students who fail to get diplomas. That’s because they’ll never get the bump in pay that they need to pay back their student loans. 

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