Student loan debt causing grads to put off other life events

(FOX) -- College may be one of the most important investments -- but student loan debit is causing folks to put off other important life events -- like getting married and having children.

As college students get ready to graduate in mid-May -- many are worrying about tackling the debt after four or more years of schooling.

Expert CPA Ernie Almonte has a few pointers on how to pay back loans while searching for that first job.

"We wanted to find out about the debt that students take on to go to college. And what we found was 39% of the students only 39% students understood the debt they were taking on and its impact on them. On top of all of that, we found that 60% really have regrets now about the debt that they took on. And on top of all of that, we found 75% of the people really have a personal financial negative effect because of that debt," Almonte said.

"For the ones that are getting prepared to go to college, we try to tell them, look at different alternatives. Whether you look at saving early to save for college, go to a community college, ahead of time to save some money, maybe work Part-time as you go to college. For those already have the debt, we try to tell them, make sure you pay the debt on time. Because it is truly important that you pay that debt on time. Because if effects your credit rating could affect your future employment. If you are working in the military, any high security area, it could affect your ability to be hired or to get promoted. So it is truly important to pay it on time. You took on this debt and it has to be paid back," Almonte said.

"One of the things you can do if you are still in college, you should look at and having a work-study programs, so it is a way that you can help reduce additional debts you are going to put on. When you are searching for employment, you can get things for example, if you are looking at an employment in the government, whether it is military, federal, state or local government, some of those employers allow credit or debt reduction to your college. So you can look at that alternative. And you can look at switching to go part-time to again, not adding additional debt," Almonte said.

According to a survey, student loan borrowers delay home purchases, forego retirement plans and put off marriage.

Between 2004 through 2012, student loan dept in the U.S. has nearly tripled to $960 billion -- becoming the biggest non-mortgage debt burden in America.