06/30/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Debt Dictates Students' Adult Life

Jessica Moore and her husband, Matt, quickly obtained jobs in their areas of study upon graduation. The Moores critically review each dollar earned and spent with self-made spreadsheets. Visits to the vet for their pets are meticulously planned to keep their budget balanced.

"We don't go out -- we stay home and watch a movie, you know, because it's free," Jessica said. "We play a lot of board games too."

In college, Jessica obtained federal student loans and scholarships, and she worked part time in Ankeny at a Chili's and participated in work study programs. But she still came out with $23,380 in loans, which will escalate to more than $33,000 by the time she pays interest. Matt walked away with $32,090 in private loans, although he worked throughout his collegiate career for the campus police.