Students who earn a college degree end up better off financially than those who don’t, but building up massive student loan debt is playing a big role in those students’ lives for years after college, reports MarketWatch staffer Jillian Berman.

A new study from researchers at the University of Kansas states that a college graduate with an extra $10,000 in student loans will achieve the nation’s median net worth 26% slower than a college graduate without that debt.

“Education is supposed to be a key equalizer in society, but it turns out that the way people fund their education has strong implications in the ways people are able to benefit from it later in life,” said Emily Rauscher, a sociology professor at the University of Kansas and one of the authors of the study.

College graduates in debt then have less money to spend on things, like, say, a home of their own.

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