Survey Data Shows The Impact of Student Loan Debt in America
December 30, 2019
— Freedom Debt Relief survey: Debt impacts finances, mental/emotionalhealth, retirement of students and parents —
San Mateo, Calif., Sept. 17, 2019 – Freedom Debt Relief has released results of a new survey detailing the impact of student loan debt on Americans’ finances, mental and emotional health, and retirement.
The resultsportray a population of college attendees/grads – and parents who are paying orhaving paid the cost of a college education – that is overwhelmed andstruggling. As credit card, vehicle and medical debt continue to escalate,student loan debt adds a burden that has become a true crisis for manyAmericans.
Key survey findings include:
Student loan debt has created a crisis in America. With more than 44 million people carrying student loan debt of $1.6 trillion, 93% of college attendees/graduates, and 89% of parents, think this represents a financial crisis.
Financial stress is real. College attendees/grads rank student loan debt as the most stressful expense in their lives – over housing costs, credit card or vehicle debt, and medical costs. Sixty-seven percent said the cost of their college education has caused them to feel overwhelmed about their financial situation. Almost half (47%) said the cost has contributed to mental or emotional health issues, while 38% said it has caused them to lose sleep at night.
Student loan debtweighs heavily on finances and retirement. Fifty-nine percent of collegeattendees/grads said they can’t saveany money because of the cost of their college education, 32% said they arecarrying credit card debt because of college costs, and 48% said they have beenunable to pay off (or down), or have delayed paying off (or down), other typesof debt because of the cost of college. And, 43% believe their collegeeducation cost has impacted their retirement age.
The impact of student loan debt on parents’ lives andretirement plans is significant.
37% said their child’scollege education cost has caused them to feel overwhelmed about theirfinancial situation.
20% said their child’scollege education cost has contributed to mental or emotional health issues oftheir own.
20% said the cost hascaused them to lose sleep at night.
40% said the cost hasimpacted their retirement age;41% said it has impacted their overallretirement plan.
42% said they had givenup saving for retirement; 42% gave up going on vacation; 31% gave up retiringwhen they initially desired.
In addition, a third of parents surveyed said they cannot save any money because of the cost of their child’s college education. Twenty-two percent said they are carrying credit card debt because of their child’s college costs, and 40% said they have been unable to pay off (or down), or have delayed paying off (or down), other types of debt because of what they are paying towards their child’s cost of college. Close to a quarter (23%) believe their child’s college education cost has impacted their own credit scores.
Additional topics the survey addresses include thefollowing.
Sacrifices colleges attendees/grads would make toeliminate their student loan debt
Lack ofknowledge about loan types and terms
Amount of time individuals believe it will take to payoff the cost of their college education
Degree of support for student loan debt reform options
“The stark reality is that Americans are drowning in debt, with student loan debt creating a real crisis for many in their everyday finances, emotional and mental health, and retirement plans,” says Michael Micheletti, director of corporate communications for Freedom Debt Relief.“ The survey results confirm that student loan debt takes a toll on students, grads and parents, long after graduation and well down the road to retirement.”
The online poll, conducted by Atomik Research in July, surveyed 1,003 U.S. college attendees/graduates who are in the process of paying off the cost of college, and 503 are parents who are paying, or who have paid, toward the cost of their child’s college education.