University admissions are based on merit, not social class, but many people from lower and middle income brackets are much worse off when they finish their programs because they are forced to run up large amounts of debt to pay for their school tuition. If you're entering the workforce with more debt than you can handle, you might need some help. Here are some resources you can turn to for assistance as well as some tips on managing your debt.

If your debts are to the national or provincial student loan programs, your first step should always be to speak to them about your situation. Although the standard practice is for you to begin paying off your loans as soon as you move out and into your post-college job, they will give you a longer grace period if you are struggling with your finances or having trouble finding a job. You can also get them to defer or hold off on interest during your difficult times.

If your loans are from banks, either as a line of credit or a bank based student loan, your first priority should be to start paying off those loans. In most cases your parents will have co-signed for these loans with you and will be on the hook for the payments if you start to fall down. If your parents can afford it, you may want to think about asking them to help you pay off your loan. You can then pay them back later when you've sold some properties. This will save you money on interest.

However, most students end up with loans because their parents can't afford to put them through college and are therefore on their own when it comes to paying them off. In order to manage your debt you will need to live frugally when you first start out. This means forget about vacationing and buying new cars and toys. Get a roommate, walk to work, and shop with coupons to avoid having to take out more debt on credit cards or mortgages, which will worsen the situation.

If you are living frugally from a rented room in a row and you still are not able to manage your debt, it's time to seek professional help. Visit a non profit credit counseling service (check the phone book) for a consultation. They will be able to consolidate your debt and help you work out a payment plan and budget that fits within your income.

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