COLO SPRINGS, Colo. -

New data released by The Associated Press shows student loan debt is over $1.2 trillion, which is more than double the amount of a decade ago.

Students are facing an average of $35,000 in debt, that's the highest of any graduating class in U.S. history. A senior at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Jon Cheek, knows the struggle first hand.

"It's been a pretty big concern, I work while I go to school. I applied for a bunch of scholarships and done everything I can to try and keep it low," said Cheek.

Cheek is getting ready to graduate, but first, he's working to pay back thousands of dollars in student loans. That's where the financial aid program can help.

"We have about half of our students on financial aid and about half receiving loans. So about 5,000 students per year are taking out student loans," said Ron Swartwood, the financial adviser at Pikes Peak Community College.

PPCU freshman, Nicholas Brunt is paying $15,000 in student loans for his four years.

"It's a concern that's why I was very picky with my degree and I chose computer science knowing how much technology has grown and I know it's not going to go away," said Brunt.

While financial aid and scholarships can help ease the burden of loans, advisers say there's one piece of advice you won't find in the classroom.

"Borrow only what you need while you're in college then when you're out of college make sure to keep in constant contact with your loan servicer," said Swartwood.

According to www.debt.org, there is a simple way to graduate without overwhelming student debt - live at home. The organization calculates that a bachelor of arts degree could be had for as little as $25,000.

For more information and for resources, visit www.studentloans.gov.