Many Americans are suffering from “student loan regret” and struggling to keep up with sky-high payments, a new study suggests.
A study into the finances of 2,000 graduates specifically examined the impact of student loan repayments and the repercussions of managing debt.
Results showed over half (52 percent) of college graduates who took out student loans struggle to pay them back after the grace period has lapsed.
And it’s no surprise that nearly half of college graduates who took out loans (47 percent) have had to defer their payment plans at least once, since it takes the average recent college graduate six months to find a job on average.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with EDvestinU®, the national nonprofit student loan program of the New Hampshire Higher Education Loan Corporation (NHHELCO).
With three in 10 college graduates who took out loans having missed at least one payment, 66 percent continue to experience stress over paying off their student loans.
A quarter of respondents admit that they would have attended a less expensive school if they knew what they know now about the debt they’d incur.
Rich Neilsen, Education Loan Program Manager for EDvestinU commented, “While offering affordable student loan products to students across the nation is our primary goal, encouraging responsible borrowing and borrower education is just as important.”
Hindsight is always 20/20, and with loans, that theory is no different. Eight in 10 college graduates who took out a loan to pay for their education felt like they had limited options when it came down to getting a student loan.
Ultimately, it turns out, over half of those entering college didn’t do their research before applying for student loans.
“Paying for college is a significant investment for most families. It’s essential borrowers properly educate themselves about the differences between lenders and the products that they offer so that they can ensure they are making the best borrowing decision for their particular situation,” stated Neilsen.
But it really should come as no surprise that 46 percent of college graduates who ended up taking out a student loan suffer from student loan regret.
And it’s not just recent college graduates that are struggling with student loan debt. In fact, 72 percent of those aged 46 and older who took out student loans continue to stress over making their monthly payments.
With all that stress surrounding paying back student loans, it’s no wonder that 55 percent of those 46 and older have missed at least one monthly student loan payment.
In addition to the massive lack of research being done by student loan borrowers, 58 percent of students entering college had no idea about the option to refinance their loans. And it turns out, 29 percent of current student loan borrowers are still completely unaware that there are options available to them to help them with their monthly loan payment.
As a result, 63 percent of college graduates who have mounting student loan debt have never attempted to refinance their loans and reduce the stress surrounding their student loan debt.
However, of the 37 percent that have refinanced their loans, the experience seems to be positive overall.
One respondent exclaimed the experience was “excellent, reliable, and very useful,” while another remarked “for my undergraduate loans it was extremely easy. I just went online and filled out a form and it was all taken care of for me.”
Neilsen added, “Minimizing the stress student loan repayment may cause can be addressed much easier through proper research and educated decision making when borrowing. But for those student loan borrowers already in repayment, refinancing is a viable option that may lead to lower interest rates and monthly payments, thereby lowering the total overall cost of borrowing.”