The class of 2013 is in for a rude awakening this graduation season.
Between ballooning student loans, credit cards and money owed to family members, they are facing an average $35,200 in college-related debt, a Fidelity survey of 750 college graduates shows.
And for half of this year's graduates, the amount of debt they racked up while in school comes as a shock.
"We're tending to find people are still surprised at the level of debt they're graduating with, which suggests we still have a long way to go in terms of having conversations about planning for college, saving for college and figuring out the best place to go (to college)," said Keith Bernhardt, vice president of college planning at Fidelity Investments.
The bulk of the class of 2013's debt is in government loans, with graduates owing an average of $26,000. They also had an average of $19,000 in private loans, $18,000 in state loans, $13,000 in personal and family loans and $3,000 in credit card debt.
After realizing the extent of their debt, 39 percent said they would have done things differently -- like saving earlier, more thoroughly researching financial aid or looking for ways to save more and spend less while at school -- that's up from 25 percent in 2011.
A small group, or 12 percent of graduates, regretted their decisions entirely, saying their college education didn't justify the debt burden.
But now they're forced to face reality. Half of respondents said tackling their student debt is a financial priority, and half said it will take them more than nine years to become debt-free.
The majority, or 92 percent, say they will pay back their debt using income from their job, 25 percent said they will get help from their parents or family, 24 percent will use their savings and 21 percent will get a second job. About 7 percent of graduates don't plan on ever being able to entirely pay off their loans.
Others started taking action earlier to try to soften the blow. About 85 percent of college graduates contributed their own money toward college costs -- with 27 percent reporting that they contributed more than $10,000. And 57 percent said they chose their major specifically because they thought it would land them a higher-paying job.