68% of student borrowers struggle to make payments, survey finds
Many Americans struggling with student loan debt regret borrowing money for college, and some report earning less than friends who don’t have a degree, according to a new survey.
Sixty-eight percent of the 2,000 people surveyed said they had trouble repaying their federal loans and 60 percent were unable to save money.
Student debt caused a third of respondents to delay starting a family and 64% to put off a major purchase, such as a property or a new car.
“With the cost of college rising faster than inflation, the situation is only getting worse,” said Roman Peskin, founder and CEO of ELVTR, the online education program that led the investigation.
“The loan forgiveness, although a great initiative, is really just a bandage. Before we bandage the wound, we must first stitch it up.
The Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program, announced in August, could erase up to $20,000 in debt for tens of millions of Americans.
The pardon form was previewed Tuesday, a day before a federal judge begins weighing a lawsuit from six Republican-led states seeking to block the proposal.
In the meantime, many people who have already borrowed money are feeling a form of buyer’s remorse, Peskin said.
The average public university student borrows $32,880 to earn a bachelor’s degree, according to Education Data Initiative.
Thirty-six percent of respondents regretted borrowing money for school, 28% said they would choose another field, and 40% plan to change careers in the future.
More than half of the participants said they had mental health issues, with anxiety being the most prominent, due to their debt.
However, the results may not be indicative of many other Americans, as only people who paid to take online courses with ELVTR were asked to respond.
The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education offers a different reason for declining interest in college, which it says is greatest among districts with high concentrations of poverty.
Overall, public college enrollment has fallen nearly 10% over the past five years in Massachusetts, to 60.4%, according to a department presentation,
The inability to immediately enroll in higher education leads to lower earning potential by the time a person reaches their thirties, the presentation showed.
The average salary was $49,456 for those who went straight to college, $39,527 for those who delayed enrolling, and $37,075 for those who opted out.
The lowest immediate enrollment was observed among Latino and black men. Asian Americans and white women are far ahead of the pack with the highest number of registrations.
To close these postcode-based academic achievement gaps, the department is placing greater emphasis on equity initiatives.