Majority of student loan borrowers link mental health issues to their debt: survey – The Hill

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by Adam Barnes | Sep. 23, 2022
Most student borrowers will struggle to pay their loan debts, and more than half say the amount of debt they owe is putting strain on their mental health, according to a recent survey.  
A survey from the online education program ELVTR found 54 percent of student borrowers experience mental health challenges due to the amount of debt owed. Fifty-six percent of those whose mental health is affected by student loans said they’ve experienced anxiety, while about a third suffered depression.  
Prior to President Biden’s forgiveness plan, the average student debt balance was more than $37,000, according to the Education Data Initiative. But just 41 percent surveyed by ELVTR are happy with their decision to borrow money to fund their education. More than three-quarters of those surveyed are unhappy with the academic decisions they made in college. 
The survey also found student borrowers are putting off major life events due to their debt, including starting a family, purchasing a home and traveling. 
Yet some struggle more than others, as just 31 percent of women and 21 percent of Black graduates said they can afford to make their monthly payments. 
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The White House earlier this week released a state-by-state breakdown of borrowers affected by Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan, which could eliminate student debt entirely for 20 million borrowers. About 90 percent of the expected relief will go to Americans earning less than $75,000 per year, according to a White House fact sheet.  
The administration in August rolled out plans to forgive up to $10,000 for federal borrowers earning less than $125,000 and up to $20,000 for borrowers who meet the income criteria and received a Pell Grant during college. 
More than 40 million total borrowers across all 50 states will be affected by the plan if all eligible applicants apply for relief beginning online in early October. The Education Department advises applying prior to Nov. 15 for relief to kick in before restarting federal loan repayments in January.
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