The study -- compiled from data of a three-year analysis of graduating college students -- found an overwhelming majority of students who take out loans underestimate the total cost of their loans and overestimate their expected incomes.
According to the study, recent college graduates reported an expected income of $39,016, while the average income for college graduates is only $27,000.
Students also underestimated the total cost of their loans.
Seventy-eight percent of surveyed participants had underestimated their loans by at least $4,846.
Loan repayment also appeared to be a problem, as students in the study reported they contributed an average of 10.7 percent of their future income to loan repayment.
The loan industry recommends that students use no more than 8 percent of their income to repay loans.
Jennibeth Brackett, public relations coordinator for the N.C. State Education Assistance Authority, said the main problem comes from student ignorance on the totality of loans.
"We want to make sure students know to borrow just what they need," she said.
"The more you borrow, the more debt."