“A family affair”: others often contribute to help repay student loans
Many people who have taken out student loans do not bear the burden of their debt alone. The mountain of debt also weighs on their families.
“Paying off student loans is really a family affair,” says Fiona Greig, director of consumer studies at the JPMorgan Chase Institute.
The number of people aged 60 and over with student loan debt increased, with many of these loans taken out by parents and grandparents to help young family members pay for their education.
Now a new study from the JPMorgan Chase Institute says almost 40% student loan payers are helping someone else pay off their student loans. And 27% of those assistants have zero student loan debt themselves.
“The promise of a student loan in a very specific way is this: I go to school, I graduate, I have human capital in my brain, which allows me to earn more money. ‘future,’ says Greig.
Under the CARES Act for Pandemic Relief and a subsequent extension by the Trump administration, interest and payments have been suspended on federal student loans until December 31.
Student loan debt exceeds $ 1.5 trillion, but there has been a sharp drop in missed debt payments under the federal suspension.
“Taking a break from student loan repayments is great, especially in the climate we live in,” says Greig. “But these payments still have to be made and for low-income black borrowers it becomes a ‘debt trap’.”
The study, which analyzed data from 2015-2016, indicates that black borrowers are likely to face a student debt “trap”, where their loan balances increase rather than decrease over time. About 13% of black borrowers are likely to never repay their student loans.
Greig notes that the pay gap between blacks and whites also makes it more difficult for blacks to repay their loans. And black families only have 32 cents in liquid assets for every dollar white families have, according to the study, which means they have far fewer reserves to help them weather financial shocks.
This is because the price of college has gone up. Four-year public college tuition fees jumped 37% over the 10 years ending in 2018, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
“With the ongoing pandemic and so many families going through tough times, some students might not complete their degrees,” Greig said. “And I’m afraid they might be stuck with a student loan debt for a degree that they couldn’t even complete because the tuition was just too high. So now you have a partial degree. and a debt. ”
Adedayo Akala is an intern at the NPR Business Desk.
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