WHITING, Ind., April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- With student loan debt surpassing $1 trillion this month, upcoming college graduations signify not only the start of a new life chapter, but for many, the start of a lifetime of debt. A new survey from CouponCabin.com finds that nearly six-in-ten (57 percent) U.S. adults who took out student loans to attend college still have an outstanding balance. Those loan balances carry on significantly into older age brackets, as more than four-in-ten (42 percent) of U.S. adults ages 35 and up who took out college loans said they still have a student loan balance. Twenty-one percent of those ages 55 and older still have a student loan balance. This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin from April 10th – April 12th, 2012, among 2,145 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.
The loan balances that older U.S. adults are carrying are large enough to have a significant affect on their monthly finances. Nearly half (47 percent) of adults ages 35-44 with a student loan balance report their current balance is more than $20,000, while 34 percent of adults 45-54 are still carrying more than $20,000 in debt.
Young Americans are also feeling the pressure of student loan balances as they face a challenging job market and economic climate. More than eight-in-ten (83 percent) of U.S. adults ages 18-34 who took out loans to attend college said they currently are carrying a balance, with 34 percent of those with a student loan balance reporting that their balance is more than $20,000. Sixteen percent said that balance is more than $40,000.
"Americans of all ages are saddled with student loan debt," said Jackie Warrick, President and Chief Savings Officer at CouponCabin.com. "The pressure to pay off that debt and try to get ahead can be quite high, and in the meantime, make it difficult to make ends meet."
The burden to pay back student loan debt also takes an emotional toll on those who took out loans. In fact, seven-in-ten (70 percent) U.S. adults who took out loans to attend college are or were at least somewhat concerned about how long it would take to pay off that debt. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) were very concerned.
A variety of worries can mark the passage into life after college. When asked what their biggest concerns are or were about post-college life, U.S. adults said the following:
- Not being able to find a job – 45 percent
- Not being able to afford the lifestyle I wanted – 34 percent
- The state of the economy – 32 percent
- Not being able to pay my bills – 30 percent
- Not being able to pay off my student loan debt – 17 percent
- Not being able to pay off my credit card debt – 14 percent
- Having to move back in with my parents – 10 percent
Sometimes the concerns associated with post-college life can lead to second-guessing. Nearly half (49 percent) of U.S. adults who went to college said they wish they studied something with more earning potential. On the flip side, others took financial success into account when they selected a major. Twenty-nine percent said their financial future significantly influenced their decision to study a subject in a high-paying field.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of CouponCabin from April 10th – April 12th, 2012, among 2,145U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact: Allison Nawoj, [email protected].
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