Student loans keep borrowers from pursuing major life and financial goals, says survey.

3 minute read

A majority (54 percent) of borrowers with student loan debt say taking out student loans wasn’t worth it, according to a 2022 CNBC/Momentive poll. From delaying financial milestones like buying a home to investing and saving for retirement, many Americans with student loan debt are feeling the pinch of regret that comes with high amounts of debt.

According to the CNBC/Momentive survey, nearly 6 in 10 respondents think President Biden should make forgiving student loan debt a priority. A large majority of that group support student loan forgiveness “for some.”

Even though President Biden campaigned on promises to work on forgiving student loan debt up to $10,000 or higher, so far, he hasn’t come through on student loan forgiveness. Instead, the government has deferred student loan payments and interest since 2020 due to the pandemic.

Not surprisingly, student loan borrowers are getting nervous, wondering if they’ll need to resume making student loan payments on large amounts of student loan debt in August. Meanwhile, there’s talk in the press about Biden making a decision soon on student loan forgiveness.

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Student loan debt delays major milestones

It can be tough to accomplish major life and financial goals when student loan debt hangs like an albatross around your neck. Most borrowers (81 percent) told CNBC/Momentive they’ve had to delay important milestones while they pay off student loan debt.

So, which milestones are borrowers putting on hold? Here’s the overall rundown overall, according to poll results:

  • Paying off other loans (42 percent)
  • Investing money (40 percent)
  • Saving for retirement (38 percent)
  • Putting off travel (35 percent)
  • Purchasing a home (33 percent)
  • Having kids (16 percent)
  • Getting married (14 percent)
  • Getting a new job (12 percent)

Find out: Federal Government Proposes Changes to Student Loans and Retirement Savings

Gen Zers have the least student loan regrets

Among all age groups, 52 percent of Gen Zers (ages 18 to 25) are most likely to say taking out student loans was “worth it,” according to the poll. Here’s how other age groups responded positively when asked if their student loans were worth it:

  • Millennials (ages 26 to 41): 41 percent
  • Gen Xers (ages 42 to 57): 44 percent
  • Baby Boomers (ages 58 to 76): 44 percent

Student loan debt hurting mental health

According to the poll, six in 10 (62 percent) say the burden of student loan debt negatively affects their mental health. The less money borrowers earn, the more likely they are to have mental health issues related to student loan debt. Survey respondents who report student loan debt hiring their mental health include:

  • 70 percent earning less than $50,000 a year
  • 59 percent who earn between $50,000 and $99,999 annually
  • 74 percent earning more than $100,000 a year

More women (65 percent) reported student debt affecting their mental health than men (54 percent. Baby Boomers (55 percent) were the least likely to report mental health concerns related to student loan debt, followed by Gen Zers (62 percent), millennials (62 percent) and Gen Xers (63 percent).

Find out: How Debt and Money Stress Affect Mental Health

Demographics influence student loan forgiveness support

While 7 in 10 survey respondents say they’d like President Biden to grant some degree of student loan forgiveness, gender, age and other factors play a part in that outlook:

  • Only 19 percent of Republicans surveyed favor forgiving all student loans compared to Democrats (43 percent) and Independents (46 percent).
  • Women (38 percent) support student loan forgiveness for all compared to men (29 percent) in favor of wiping out student loan debt.
  • Borrowers earning less than $50,000 annually are most supportive of student loan forgiveness.
  • Gen Zers (45 percent) are the most supportive generation of forgiving all student loans, followed by Millennials (43 percent), Gen Xers (32 percent) and Baby Boomers (23 percent).

Interested in student loan forgiveness and want to learn more? Learn more here: What You Need to Know About Student Loan Forgiveness Programs

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

Published by Debt.com, LLC