East Texan struggling with "overwhelming" student loan debt

Meagan Davis is one of a million Americans that values higher education. In 2005, Davis was accepted into Stephen F. Austin. However, she said her college education left her feeling helpless.

"I had owe $30,000 in student loans. I pay about $350 a month over a 10 year time span," Davis said.

To help her out, her dad paid a portion of her debt this past Christmas. Davis said it's one of the best gifts she has received in her life.

When it comes to student loan debt, Davis isn't alone in the struggle. According to White House statistics, 36 million Americans currently have student loans.

Davis pays roughly 10 percent of her discretionary income on the amount she took out after 2007. This is because she was one of the few who originally qualified for the "pay-as-you-earn program." The program was geared toward those who borrowed money from 2007 to 2011.

On Monday, President Barack Obama took several executive actions to extend the program to just about anyone who has borrowed money. Financial aid advisor Rachele Garrett said Obama's initiative might not have the impact that he is hoping for.

"In a nutshell, what he is doing is extending previous initiatives on loan repayment, but he isn't increasing any additional funding for students," Garrett said.

It's something Davis agrees with. She added it's just not good enough.

"I hate paying them back. I mean we get free public education to 12th grade. Half of the price would be better," Davis said.

Garrett said some of the reasons why people have so much student loan debt are that they just didn't do their research, they're switching majors, and taking unnecessary loans. It may be too late for Davis, but for those looking for options, Garrett said it's best to have a game plan.

"They need to know that they have grant options, work study options, scholarship options, and they need to look at all other options before taking out a loan," Garrett said.

The presidential memorandum also outlines actions to help people who might be at greater risk of defaulting on their loans. To achieve the goal , proposed rules must be issued within a year.

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