When college students graduate many face a mountain of debt. Recent reports indicate that student debt is approaching one-trillion dollars.
They say nothing in life is free.
"It’s not cheap, but it's worth it,” said Joe Hamiter, when asked about his college education.
Joe Hamiter knows this first hand -- but either way -- the cost isn't stopping him from going for the gold.
"I'm really excited to graduate,” he said.
This Fort Worth native and Aggie Senior graduates in one week; but with all the excitement comes the reality of the real world. Hamiter is among the student population who is footing the bill for their college education.
"I took out three student loans for 16,000,” said Aggie senior JJ Ceniceros.
"I was very fortunate that my parents saved up to help me; but if they wouldn’t have, I would have been at least $50-grand in debt,” said A&M graduate Caitlin Riley.
"On top of working this whole time and scholarships and financial aid, I have about $10,000 in debt,” said Hamiter.
Ten-thousand dollars is half of what the average Texas A&M senior owes for a bachelor's degree. In the 2010-2011 school year, the average Texas A&M graduate would walk away with almost $23,000 in debt; the debt goes up from there. A Masters degree could put you in the red by some $25,000; and a Doctoral degree is roughly $42,000.
Hamiter’s hard work is certainly paying off -- but he admits it hasn't secured a job just yet -- which is why he says he has a backup plan.
"The plan right now is to go to grad school and just put that off for a little while," he said.
With the gold in hand -- he says it's a plan that he's knows will pay off.
“Apparently aggies get jobs pretty quickly after school so I'm not too stressed out right now," Hamiter said.
A spokesperson for the financial aid department at Texas A&M says the average amount a student owed for a bachelor's degree in 2009 was roughly $18,000.
Commencement ceremonies for undergraduate students start Friday, May 11th.