Majority of student borrowers link mental health issues to debt: survey – The Hill

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The story at a glance


  • A survey by the ELVTR online education program found that 54% of student borrowers experience mental health issues due to the amount of debt they owe.

  • Fifty-six percent of people whose mental health is affected by student loans said they suffered from anxiety, while about a third suffered from depression.

  • The survey also found that student borrowers are postponing major life events, such as starting a family, because of their debt.

Most student borrowers will struggle to repay their loan debt, and more than half say the amount of debt they owe is straining their mental health, according to a recent survey.

A survey of the online education program ELVTR revealed that 54% of student borrowers experience mental health issues due to the amount of debt owed. Fifty-six percent of people whose mental health is affected by student loans said they suffered from anxiety, while about a third suffered from depression.

Before President Biden’s forgiveness plan, the average student debt balance was over $37,000, according to the Education Data Initiative. But only 41% surveyed by ELVTR are satisfied with their decision to borrow money to finance their studies. More than three-quarters of respondents are unhappy with the academic decisions they made at university.

The survey also found that student borrowers are postponing major life events because of their debt, including starting a family, buying a home and travelling.

Still, some struggle more than others, as only 31% of women and 21% of black graduates said they could afford to make their monthly payments.

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The White House earlier this week released a state-by-state breakdown of borrowers affected by Biden’s student debt cancellation plan, which could eliminate student debt entirely for 20 million borrowers. About 90% of the expected relief will go to Americans earning less than $75,000 a year, according to a White House fact sheet.

The administration in August rolled out plans to waive up to $10,000 for federal borrowers earning less than $125,000 and up to $20,000 for borrowers who meet income criteria and received a Pell Grant during their studies.

More than 40 million total borrowers in all 50 states will be affected by the plan if all eligible applicants apply for relief online by early October. The Department of Education advises applying by Nov. 15 for relief before resuming federal loan repayments in January.

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