(KIMT) – The burden of paying back student loans can last decades, and now a new study suggests borrowers are less likely to make any other large investments until that debt is taken care of.
The group American Student Assistance says of the borrowers surveyed, more than 50 percent say their student loans affected their ability to purchase a car. Nearly as many borrowers say it also affected whether they could afford buying a home.
Researchers say in past years, students at for-profit schools and students who dropped out of school faced the most difficulty in paying back their loans. Now, however, researchers say the *majority of borrowers are facing similar challenges.
“The “American Dream” used to be for a family to purchase their own home and by putting that off due to other issue that can be worked with, that’s always a concern because that’s something that we all want to have,” said Kathye Gaines, Branch manager with Consumer Credit Counseling.
Besides deterring borrowers from making large investments, surveys suggest borrowers were more likely to adjust their lives in other ways as well.
- 53 percent responded that their student loan debt was the deciding factor, or had considerable impact, on their choice of career field.
- 21 percent indicated that they have put off marriage as a result of their student loans.
- 28 percent said that student debt has delayed their decision to start a family.
Despite the risks involved with not paying your loans, researchers say more than 65 percent of students still believe that higher education is worth the investment.
“With some lenders, they will not look at it as negative for having student loans. As long as you are keeping up everything else, but it is still a concern for many lenders whether or not they are going to look at your credit score and see what’s going on and see that amount of student debt,” said Gaines.
According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, student loan debt continued to grow in 2015 and eventually eclipsed total credit card debt.
Today, more than $1.3 trillion is owed among 43 million borrowers in the country. Of those student borrowers, more than 7.3 million are at least 90 days delinquent on their loans.
The foundation predicts that the next economic crisis the US faces, will likely involve student loan debt and the interest rates involved.