Almost half of young adults have student loan debt. And 36% of college graduates paying off student loans say now that taking on that debt wasn’t worth it, according to a new report by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, which surveyed over 2,700 early adults (defined here as those ages 18 to 34).
A smaller poll by GoBankingRates recently arrived at similar conclusions: It found that, while a vast majority of Americans with college degrees don’t regret college itself, many do say the student debt they incurred wasn’t worth it.
Researcher concludes that increase in Grad PLUS loans did not drive up the price of medical and business schools or increase debt burden of those who enrolled.
The “Bennett hypothesis” — the subject of much debate among think tank analysts and higher ed researchers and in these pages — holds that increases in federal financial aid give colleges and universities subsidies that “blithely” allow them to raise their tuitions. (The eponym for the hypothesis, then education secretary William J. Bennett, had a way with words.)
The belief that this is so continues to influence federal policy makers with a small-government point of view — including members of the Trump administration who have cited it as justification for proposals to constrain certain student loan programs.
According to the latest student loan debt statistics, there are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. Today, according to personal finance site Make Lemonade, student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category – second only to mortgages and higher than credit card debt and auto loans. By 2023, 40% of student loan borrowers may default on their student loans.
Some of the 2020 presidential candidates have weighed in on the future of higher education, how to manage growing student loan debt, and how topay off student loans faster
. While this list does not include all candidates for president or all aspects of a candidate’s position on student loans, expect each of the candidates to release more in-depth policy proposals regarding student loans as the campaign progresses.
The Obama-era rule, known as Borrower Defense to Repayment, allows students who believe they were defrauded by their college to apply for loan forgiveness. The idea is that if they didn’t get the education they were promised, they shouldn’t have to pay back their debt.
Congress is already signaling that its big legislative priority for the year is reauthorizing the Higher Education Act — and the Trump White House is already complicating it.
In a recently released set of priorities, the Trump administration laid down its opening bid: It wants to set limits on the amount of loan money students can borrow and overhaul the current system to accredit colleges and universities. It’s also throwing a controversial issue like “free speech on campus” into the mix.
Overall, higher education has taken a back seat in Trump’s agenda, which has focused largely on immigration, repealing the Affordable Care Act, and cutting taxes. But with a retiring senator who was a former education secretary leading the charge, Congress has its eye on renewing the Higher Education Act for the first time since 2008. The White House is now getting more involved — with senior adviser Ivanka Trump leading the initiative.