Twice a week, lawyer Jessica Youngs leaves her Buckhead office and heads to Chamblee, where she changes from business attire into a swimsuit and spends a couple of hours teaching kids to swim.
On Saturday mornings, Youngs, 24, teaches swimming for four more hours. Saturday afternoons and evenings, she spends another four-to-six hours working as a lifeguard. Sundays bring no rest, for she is back at the pool, working 9-to-12 hours as a lifeguard.
While it’s fun, “I don’t like being in the water so much,” said Youngs, an instructor at Dynamo Swim School.
But facing $25,000 in student loan payments and another $22,000 in school-related debt — including a credit card and personal loans from family — Youngs is at the pool to keep her head above water by paying off the money slowly.
Her situation is hardly unusual. Many students use loans to finance college and repaying them can be a challenge. Two-thirds of college students borrow money for their education, graduating with an average debt of $23,200, according to the Project on Student Debt, an initiative of the nonprofit Institute for College Access and Success.
The high unemployment rate left many students graduating this spring without pending jobs but with hefty student loan debt. Some will have their first payments come due as early as July, if they don’t get a forbearance, deferring payment. When they can find work, some are working two and even three jobs to cover their loans.