Congratulations, class of 2016, you've earned your degree!
You may have landed a job, too, or you hope to get hired soon, especially if you're among the new college grads who will have to start paying back student loans later this year.
More than two-thirds of undergraduate students earning a bachelor's degree this year will graduate with at least some amount of debt, said financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Cappex, a website connecting students with colleges and scholarships. The average amount of debt will reach the highest level ever, at more than $37,000 per borrower, he said.
And that debt clock starts ticking as soon as you receive your diploma.
"Repayment begins six months after the student graduates or drops below half-time enrollment," Kantrowitz said. "For May graduates, that means November. For June graduates, it's December."
That's a heavy burden for many recent grads. More than one-third of undergraduate and graduate students say "student loan debt will hold me back financially" after graduation, according to a new survey by LendEdu, an online marketplace for student loans and student loan refinancing.
Yet many are ready to tackle the problem, with 29 percent saying paying off student loan debt is their current personal-finance goal.
There are several websites and mobile apps, including Earnest, Credible, SoFi and Gradible, that can help borrowers manage their debt.
Check out repayment options for private loans offered through these companies as well as creative programs offered for paying back federal loans, such as income-driven repayment plans. You can also learn more about federal student loan repayment at www.studentaid.gov.