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The Boston Globe

Business

Crippling debt defers graduates’ dreams

Thousands of recent college graduates with loans to pay off are putting their plans for better lives on hold

Karen Burger graduated from Northeastern University in 2012, not exactly sure of what postgraduate life would look like. A religious studies major with a minor in East Asian studies, she pictured theology school and working at a faith-based nonprofit.

Then reality — including $96,000 in student debt accumulated over five years of college — smacked her career plans. She moved back to her mother’s home near Philadelphia, took a teller’s job at TD Bank, and when the interest on her monthly payments increased, shifted her focus from the divine to the military, reaching out to an Army recruiter in the hope of finding some relief from her debt.

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