American Student Assistance survey finds 75% of student debtors say debt impacted ability to buy a house

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, October 3, 2013

American Student Assistance® today released a white paper, including the results of a new survey, which found young Americans are so strapped with student loan debt that they are being prevented and/or delayed from pursuing home ownership, starting a family, saving for retirement, starting a business, and pursuing a desired career field. According to the report, 75 percent of survey respondents indicated student loan debt affected their decision to purchase a home; 63 percent said their debt affected their ability to make large purchases, like a car; and nearly 50 percent said student debt impacted their ability to start a small business.

“We cannot allow a whole generation of well-educated consumers to sit on the sidelines and delay fully participating in our economy,” said ASA® President and CEO Paul Combe.

“Life Delayed: The Impact of Student Debt on the Daily Lives of Young Americans” details the results of ASA’s nationwide open invitation survey that was sent to 1,000 individuals, young professional groups and youth-focused professional associations this summer. Results are directionally indicative of the problems student loan borrowers are facing. Among the report’s other key findings:

  • 73% said they’ve put off saving for retirement or other investments.
  • 43% said student debt delayed their decision to start a family.
  • 30% responded that their student debt had considerable impact on their choice of career field.
  • 29% said they put off marriage as a result of the debt.
  • 27% said they found it difficult to buy daily necessities because of student loan payments.

According to the report, close to 70 percent of survey respondents said they were confused about their loan repayment options. Flexible repayment plans allow federal student loan borrowers to extend payment terms or tie payment to income so they can free up their budgets. Only 2 million of the nation’s 37 million federal student loan borrowers are currently taking advantage of income-driven plans. President Obama has proposed the U.S. Education Department contact select student borrowers to ensure they have the information they need to choose the right repayment plan for them.

ASA, a nonprofit dedicated to educating students on managing higher education debt, in recent years has achieved significant decreases in student loan delinquency rates by providing proactive counseling on payment options at every step of repayment.

“The upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act is an opportunity to explore student loan policy recommendations based on a system of shared responsibility, as put forth in “Life Delayed,” said Combe. “The federal government, state governments, private sector employers, private lenders, and colleges and universities all have a role to play in ensuring borrowers can not only survive the student loan payback process, but thrive as consumers throughout that process.”

About American Student Assistance: American Student Assistance is a nonprofit organization with 50+ years’ experience helping people make better decisions about financing their education and repaying student loans. ASA provides SALT™, a free educational resource that provides simple, smart, personalized ways for college students and recent graduates to take control of their student debt and manage their finances. Visit www.asa.orgor call 617.728.4631 for more information.