By Ben Novotny
When film student Chris Reyes talks about the $430 he pays each month toward his student loan, he uses the movie Jaws as a metaphor.
“It’s like a shark that takes a chunk out of me every month,” said Reyes, who graduated from California State University, Long Beach last year owing over $45,000 in student debt. “I haven’t eaten out at a restaurant in a really long time.”
Reyes has managed to scrape by with a part time job at bookstore, while he looks for a second job to help cover his bills, including his student loan payments. “I knew I would have to get a second part-time job once I started at Barnes & Noble,” said Reyes, who began working at the chain store last summer. Reyes is not alone. Outstanding student debt across the United States has reached $1.2 trillion according to Forbes, and is increasing at a faster rate than mortgages and auto loans. Seventy-one percent of 2013 college graduates had student loan debt, with an average of $29,400 per borrower, and more than half of Californians have student debt with an average of $20,000, according to data compiled by the Institute for College Access and Success.