The numbers are in and the results are depressing. No, I’m not talking about Super Tuesday.
You may have noticed, at the bottom of our home page, we survey student loan borrowers. The last survey ended on February 29 and produced the mostly stark results we have seen thus far. We asked people who have student loan debt when they expect to pay off their loans. We had a total of 581 people respond to the survey and this is how they responded:
- 9 people (1.5%) voted: I’m hopeful I will pay if off in 2016
- 60 people (10.3%) voted: I need at least another 5 years to pay off my loans
- 512 people (88.1%) voted: I don’t think I will ever be able to pay off my loans
With roughly $1.3 trillion outstanding student loan debt, seeing 88% of student loan borrowers feeling that they will never pay back their loans is heartbreaking. It is also deeply troubling, because borrowers who default on their federal loans may lose key benefits that provide a safety net and foster economic mobility, as the government can seize the earned income tax credit, garnish wages, and even offset social security benefits — and with no statute of limitations, this debt can dog borrowers forever.