According to recent statistics, approximately 60% of the nation’s 20 million college students borrow money annually to help cover the cost of paying for college. National student loan debt is more than $1.2 trillion, so it’s no wonder it has a major impact on the lifestyles of college graduates. Add to this debt burden the fact many college grads are struggling to find employment once they graduate and you realize how difficult it now is to “launch your adult life” once you have a degree.
Borrowers who are managing to meet their repayment responsibilities are doing so by sacrificing many of the usual events and purchases that used to be part of young adulthood. In addition to forgoing entertainment purchases, these people are essentially putting their lives on hold until they can get a handle on their student loan debt. What are some of the major ways student loan debt has changed the face of young adulthood in the last few years?
1. College Graduates Are Postponing the Purchase of Their First Home.
In the past, college students rented cheap apartments and upgraded once they completed school. For many, this upgrade meant the purchase of a starter home, especially if they planned to settle down with a spouse. Nowadays, not only are college grads not buying new homes, they are actually moving back to their childhood homes for several years after graduation.
According to recent Census data the number of young adults living in their parents’ home increased by about 5 percent between 2005 and 2011. The information included men and women between the ages of 25 and 34, many of whom faced financial challenges because of their massive school debt.
2. Young Adults Are also Postponing Starting Families sometimes ell into Their Late 30s and Early 40s.
In 2011, married couples with children made up 20 percent of all households, half what that figure was in 1970 (40 percent).For many, by the time they get around to paying off their student loan debt, finding a spouse, settling into a home, and accomplishing all the other things they put off in their 20s and early 30s, it is too late to have more than one or two children – or any children at all. Many believe student loan debt plays a significant role in the decreasing size of the average American family.
3. Attitudes about College are Changing.
Because so many students are graduating with expensive degrees and massive debt but finding little work available to help them justify their education investment, many question whether their effort was worth it. Some believe that as the outlook on student loan debt changes, so will the perception that more education equals greater success.
What does this mean for those considering student loans or already facing significant loan debt in their early 20s? It is important to carefully consider your situation before borrowing money for college. Just because money is offered through a loan program does not mean you need to take it. It is not “free money.”
If you have questions about student loan debt or you are struggling to manage your debt load, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696. We’ll help you sort through your student loan issues and build a bridge to your financial future.