Student Loans: Over Half of Americans Will Be Unable to Afford Payments Come September

Statement for a Student Loan on a desktop.
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Americans with federal student debt got another reprieve recently when President Joe Biden extended the student loan payment moratorium until Aug. 31 as a way to help borrowers “breathe a little easier.” Even with the extra time, however, a majority of those with student debt still don’t think they’ll be able to afford to pay the loans when payments resume on Sept. 1, according to a new poll from GOBankingRates.

See: Biden Extends Student Loan Payment Pause Until End of August
Find: 9 Bills You Should Never Put on Autopay

The poll of 503 Americans ages 18 and older, conducted in early April, found that 59.5% of respondents answered “no” when asked if they will be able to afford to pay their student loans on Sept. 1, 2022. Only 28.93% answered “yes,” while just less than 12% said they could pay “some, but not all” of their student debt.

Younger respondents voiced the most confidence in being able to repay their student debt. Nearly half (47.37%) of those ages 18 to 24 said they would be able to afford the payments when they resume, while 42.86% of those ages 25 to 34 said the same thing.

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On the other end of the spectrum, less than 7% of respondents aged 55 to 64 said they would be able to afford to pay their student loans on Sept. 1. About 14% of those ages 45 to 54 said they would be able to do so. Of the other respondents, 31.82% of those ages 35 to 44 said they would be able to afford to pay their student loans when they resume, and one-fifth of those 65 and older said the same thing.

The vast majority of older respondents — more than 80% of those 55 and older — said they could afford to pay part but not all of their student debt when payments resume. Less than half of respondents 18 to 34 years old said they would be able to pay part but not all of their loans.

Men tended to voice a little more confidence than women in affording the payments. Here’s how the results broke down by gender:

  • Women: 29.34% said they would be able to afford the payments when they resume, 66.2% said they would not, and 9.86% said they would be able to afford some but not all of the payments.
  • Men: 36% said they would be able to afford the payments when they resume, 50% said they would not, and 14% said they would be able to afford some but not all of the payments
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See: Income-Driven Student Loan Payment Plans Are Failing Borrowers — What Should You Do if You Have One?
Find:How To Manage Student Loan Debt as Costs Rise Due to Inflation

If you’re unable to pay your loan, you can speak with the lender about modifying or postponing payments.

About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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