ABINGDON, Va. - For many people, going to college is considered part of the American dream.
A way to almost guarantee a career making decent money, and a path to the middle class, a spouse, a home, 2.5 kids and a dog.
For others, higher education has become an albatross. A source of crippling debt, made worse by the lack of jobs in one's chosen field.
Amanda Grabler lives in Abingdon with her wife Teresa. They are both employed by the same company, one of the region's largest employers
But Amanda works 3 hours a day, 4 days a week.
"I count the tills from the day before and I balance everything and prepare the deposit," said Grabler
She makes $9 per hour, which works out to $108, before taxes, which won't help her pay off her mountain of student loan debt.
"I'm on an income contingent plan where actually I'm not paying anything a month right now, but the interest is still going up," said Grabler.
Her tab keeps growing. At the last statement, it was a little over $60,000.
According to the Shorenstein Center at Harvard University, U.S. students had more than $1 trillion in loan debt in 2013. One cause- the expense of college. The other-fewer jobs with lower salaries.
Grabler returned to school in 2007, seeking her MBA In Economic Crime and Fraud Management from Utica college in New York.
"When I went for my graduate degree, I really thought I was doing something that would make my life and financial situation better, and it made it worse," Grabler told News 5.
She's now part of the 37% of the workforce considered "overeducated," meaning they are working jobs that do not mesh with their education in terms of what is required to perform the work.
"I don't want to regret going back to school," said Grabler. "But I do."
"We really need to make education more affordable because if the costs keep going up and the interest rates, people aren't going to want to go to college"
Members of the United States Congress have recognized the issue of student loan debt and its impact on lives and by extension, the economy.
Recently, Senator Mark Warner (D-Va) cosponsored legislation with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla) that would automatically enroll students in repayment plans at 10 % of their yearly income as long as the student is employed and making more than $10,000.
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