Attorney General Josh SteinImagine you are buying a new home.You have a lot of questions.How much do I need to borrow? What is the interest rate? What will my monthly payments be? Is my home a good investment?Student loans should be no different. College is a great investment, but it can also be an expensive one.In fact, at $1.3 trillion nationally, student loan debt is greater than both credit card debt and auto loan debt.As high schools and colleges celebrated commencement across the state over the last month, I am sure paying for college was on many graduates’ minds.It’s on my mind, too. As your Attorney General, my job is to protect the people of North Carolina. A major part of that job involves protecting your hard earned money.That is why I am committed to cracking down on fraudulent student loan relief groups and taking on for-profit colleges that scam families, target veterans and cheat consumers.It is also why I want to make sure all North Carolinians thinking about college have the information they need and are treated fairly.Many families have to take out student loans. About 60 percent of North Carolina students who graduate from a private or public school have student loan debt. The average amount of debt is more than $25,000.But to take on this debt safely, it’s important to do some homework.If you are considering a loan, evaluate potential schools the same way you would any other major financial investment. Find out how much they cost, what you can afford and what your monthly loan payments will be.Find out the average salary of people in your field of study, the percentage of students who find jobs in your field after graduation and how many students leave with debt.If you are currently in college, take the time to learn how to be a smart consumer now. It will pay off down the road. Learn how to manage student loan debt and avoid repayment scams. Make sure to use credit and debit cards wisely. And learn how to reduce your risk of identity theft, both online and offline.If you have already graduated, get in touch with your lender to know what you owe. Ask about your repayment options, try to get ahead and learn about the options available to you if you cannot pay your loan. As you make payments, monitor your statements to make sure your payments are applied correctly.In today’s modern world, education is a necessity – but often so are the loans to pay for it.To help families make the best decision for them, I launched a new website – ncdoj.gov/PayingForCollege – where you can find information, tips and resources for all stages of the student loan process.As your Attorney General, I cannot change the entire way we finance higher education. But I will fight for you if you’re cheated, unfairly targeted or misled. And I will work to make sure you have the information you need make an informed financial decision.You work hard for the money you earn. I am going to work just as hard to make sure you are protected as you invest in your education.