The amount of student loan debt is a staggering 1.5 trillion dollars.

That's a lot of money to pay back, but one group of students is successfully paying back their student loans. 

YSU says the default rate at the university is down by half from almost 6 years ago.

On campus, student debt is a concern for many students like Michael Parise who is a STEM major and is investing in himself at YSU, to have a better future.

Parise said, "It is a big worry paying back student loans. A lot of people have to work and it's hard because school is a full-time job. YSU assists students in finding jobs so that will be a help."

YSU Director of Financial Aid Elaine Russe explained there are several reasons for the lower default rate at the university.

Russe said, "I believe changing from open enrollment to selective enrollment in 2014 is a major reason for the lower student loan defaults. That's because students who are more prepared to attend college typically graduate in four years which reduces the need for more student loans. In addition, they often find jobs after they graduate and repay their loans."

YSU is also offering more merit-based scholarships for students who have high ACT scores and really good grades.

In the last couple of years, they have been offering the Penguin Promise which is the same tuition rates so that allows families to know how much their tuition is going to cost over that four year period.

The university also offers the Penguin Jump Start classes so new students can take courses at a reduced rate before enrollment in the fall. This helps students get enough credit hours to finish up and graduate on time.

They also do a lot more counseling with students and providing information. If a student has borrowed, they are showing them how much they have borrowed before they decide what to borrow the next year.

Russe added, "Our counselors work with our students to get them considered for the federal Pell Grant, and the Ohio Opportunity grant, and the Pennsylvania State grant."

YSU President Jim Tressel said, "There is no course for it, but there is a constant dialogue to students, that you don't want this following you, it will effect your future."

Victor Russell with Apprisen said, "The average student graduates with about $34,000 in student loan debt. There are a lot of repayment options for federal student loans. The income based program lets you start repaying debts based on your income, which really helps the individual who may be struggling right out of college."