WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new Morning Consult poll commissioned by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) found that the federal student loan payment pause has helped struggling borrowers pay for daily living expenses and other debts. Of those surveyed, 37% said the payment pause helped them pay for gas, food and transportation while 31% said it helped them pay for credit card debt, personal loans, among others. The poll also found strong bipartisan support for a wide range of actions to help students with the cost of managing debt.
“While President Biden’s recent cancellation plan has given students a renewed sense of hope, many borrowers will continue to face high student loan balances even after $10,000 or $20,000 is removed from their debt,” said Christelle Bamona, researcher at CRL. “And lower income students, especially students of color, likely will struggle once payments resume next year.”
“The federal student debt payment pause should be extended until the pandemic and the associated economic crisis have been overcome and policy makers fix the underlying issues that have plagued federal student lending programs for decades,” Bamona said.
The poll, conducted in the first half of July, is nationally representative of federal student loan borrowers.
Key findings of the survey include:
- Millions struggled to meet basic needs due to the burden of student debt.
- Low-income borrowers in loan forgiveness programs were more likely to skip meals and face wage garnishment throughout the pandemic.
- The COVID-19 pandemic forced one-third of student debt borrowers to use savings or credit cards to meet overall expenses.
- The payment pause helped roughly 40% of student loan borrowers pay for daily expenses (food, gas, transportation, etc.).
- The poll shows bipartisan support for student debt reforms to help borrowers with the cost of managing debt.
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