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Maine college graduates struggle to pay down school debt as state battles with lenders

Monday, December 3, 2018
Maine Biz
Whitney Barkley-Denney

A new poll shows that student loan debt and predatory practices by some lenders that make paying loans back increasingly expensive prevents a majority of borrowers in the state from buying a home, a car or paying for necessities, and has spurred as many as one in four to move out of state for better-paying jobs.

Female borrowers, those who attended a for-profit college and borrowers in Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties are more likely to have issues because of high student loan debt, nearly $6 billion in the state. Issues include affording necessities, attending doctor appointments and picking up prescriptions.

The poll was released by the Maine Center for Economic Policy and the Center for Responsible Lending. Lake Research Partners designed and administered the survey in October, and it reached a total of 400 adults — 31 by telephone and 369 online — with education debt in Maine.