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Poll: North Carolina Student Loan Borrowers During COVID-19 Pandemic

December 3, 2020
Student Loans
Policy & Legislation

Key points from the poll results include:

  • Forty-five percent of NC student loan borrowers report a decrease in their household income since the onset of COVID-19, with the most severe impact hitting borrowers who earn less than $50,000 per year (55% reporting a decrease).
  • Seventy-three percent of NC student loan borrowers report that their student loans cause them stress. Additionally, more than two-thirds of borrowers (69%) report they would have trouble with an unexpected emergency or are already falling behind in their finances.
  • Almost one in four (24%) NC student loan borrowers is unaware of the current pause in payments. Further, more than two in five (41%) have had problems with their servicers that have resulted in lower credit and one in three borrowers (32%) report that their servicer did not tell them about income-drive repayment options.
  • NC student loan borrowers report that they struggle to make their payments (51%) and have reduced the amount they save for retirement (41%) and put off major purchases like a car (34%) or a home (27%) due to their student loan burdens.
  • While nine in ten borrowers (89%) are not familiar with income-share agreements (ISAs), a strong majority (61%) of borrowers agree that ISAs may only exacerbate the financial stress during repayment.
  • Two-thirds of NC borrowers, across the political spectrum, strongly support eliminating student loan interest on all federal loans (67%), extending monthly repayment relief (67%), and reducing student loan debt by $20,000 for all borrowers (64%).