Majority of borrowers say fed student loan debt is not worth it, CNBC survey finds

Yet, many millennials and Gen Xers are far more skeptical. Some 63% of respondents ages 35 to 44 said, considering their current situation, it was not worth it to take out federal student loans.

The average loan amount for federal student loan borrowers is $ 36,510.

Kate Bernyk, 39, finished graduate school nearly 15 years ago with two communications degrees and about $ 100,000 in student debt.

“I used to be really proud that I had a master’s degree, but now it feels a little bit foolish,” said Bernyk, a New York-based senior communications specialist. “It feels like maybe I should not have gone because it’s really hard to put a price on what the advantage has been versus the disadvantage of getting into debt.”

She still owes more than $ 30,000 in student loans.

A bachelor’s degree holder earns a median of $ 2.8 million during their career – 75% more than if they had only a high school diploma – although when broken down by gender, women with a BA have median lifetime earnings of $ 2.4 million, compared to $ 3.3 million for men.

Kate Bernyk, 39, finished graduate school with two communications degrees and about $ 100,000 in student debt.

CNBC | Andy Tenke

Loan repayment pause ending

Borrowers got a reprieve from federal loan payments when the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. That relief has since been extended five times and is now set to end in May. The payment pause has given many borrowers more money to use for everyday expenses (48%) and pay other debts (35%), the survey found.

Yet, when federal loan repayments resume, one-third or more of the borrowers surveyed said they’ll have to delay other financial goals, such as paying off other debts (42%), investing money (40%), saving for retirement ( 38%) or buying a home (33%).

Source: CNBC + Acorns Invest In You Student Loan Survey, conducted by Momentive

“It’s like a mortgage without the house at the end of it,” Bernyk said.

The potential drag on the economy is one reason supporters of student loan forgiveness, like economist Kristen Broady, are pushing for more.

“If people do not have to pay back that money,” said Broady, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, “that’s more money that they can spend on durable and non-durable goods or services. That money goes directly into the economy. “

More from Invest in You:
Most Americans want Biden to prioritize student loan forgiveness, survey says
Student loan holders are more likely to be women and people of color
81% of adults with student loans say they’ve had to delay key life milestones

A majority, or 57% in the survey, said they believe President Joe Biden should make student loan forgiveness a priority, but views are mixed on how to do it.

About a third of respondents said all student debt should be forgiven, nearly the same amount said forgive loans for only those in need and about one in four said there should be no forgiveness.

Every dollar they borrow is going to cost them two dollars by the time they repay the debt, and they do not really think about that.

Mark Kantrowitz

Financial aid expert

Overwhelming to think about


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