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New Survey From Parents Group Shows Domino Effect of  Student Debt as Parents Struggle to Make Ends Meet and Save For Their Children’s Future

Survey Reveals Return of Student Loan Payments Has Led to Strapped Budgets and Financial Anxiety

December 4, 2023 – According to a November survey focused on how parents across the country are faring economically from ParentsTogether Action, a national family advocacy group with more than 3 million members nationwide, the resumption of student loan payments is pushing countless families to the brink.

December is the third month of loan  payments after a long pause because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and after the Supreme Court rejected a Biden Administration policy that would have canceled up to $20,000 in student debt for millions of borrowers. 

45% of survey respondents said that either they, their partner, or their kids have student debt, and reported that since loan repayment restarted in October, they’ve been  impacted in the following ways: 

  • 20% said they can no longer meet their family’s basic needs financially
  • 17% said they can no longer afford enough food for their family 
  • 20% said they need to work more hours or get a new job to try to make ends meet
  • 22% said they could not longer save for their children’s future 
  • 16% said they had to use their savings to afford the payments
  • 13% can no longer afford their rent/mortgage 
  • 7% said they can no longer afford health insurance, medical bills, or medication
  • 34% of respondents said they have had to cut back on family activities (e.g. travel, or sports and arts for children)

Out of respondents with student loans to repay, parents reported that the debt has had an enduring impact on their economic security. 

  • 33% of respondents said that because of lingering debt, they haven’t been able to save for their future; 30% said they haven’t been able to save for their children’s future
  • 22% said they’ve had to cut back on essentials like food, health care, or rent in order to afford loan payments
  • 18% said they haven’t been able to purchase a home
  • 11% said they haven’t been able to pursue a new career
  • 42% said it has caused emotional stress

Last August, ParentsTogether conducted another survey of their members and found that 64% of parents with student debt said that if student loan payments were to resume without substantial cancellation, they were ‘very worried’ about their family’s ability to make ends meet. That concern has since been substantiated by this newer data.

“The results of this survey reveal a troubling but unsurprising reality: student debt has completely burdened families across the country– forcing parents’ into making impossible financial decisions that disrupt their- and their kids’- lives,” said Ailen Arreaza, Executive Director of ParentsTogether. “Parents are already breaking their backs to make ends meet even without the added stress of paying back tens of thousands of dollars of student loans. And now the next generation is paying the price as families are unable to save for their kids’ future, or have to cut already strapped budgets to afford their monthly payments.”