36% of college grads with student loans say the debt wasn’t worth it—here’s what experts say

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).

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.



tudy Finds U.S. Loans Don’t Inflate Professional School Tuition

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.


Here’s What The 2020 Presidential Candidates Say About Your Student Loans

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.

Legislative Watch

Senate bill ‘What You Can Do for Your Country Act1 was introduced yesterday seeking to dramatically expand the pool of student loan borrowers who are eligible to have their debt cancelled via the PSLF program*.   All federal repayment plans and loan types would qualify and forgiveness would begin sooner.

Cost estimates: $2 to $3 billion, and could increase the program’s budget by more than $10 billion over the next decade.


*Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007, allows certain not-for-profit and government employees to have their federal student loans canceled after 10 years of on-time payments.