The Burden of College Debt Just Got Bigger

Submitted Fri, 08/08/2014 - 8:34am by BossFrog

There’s no question that carrying a big debt after college can slow down a graduate’s progress in life.

However, as reported in The Wall Street Journal, the weight people feel from having to pay off tens of thousands of dollars in loans is much heavier on one's psychological well-being than anyone previously imagined.

Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education, describes what oppressive college debts means in eight short words, “It's bad for all aspects of your life."

Busteed, who conducted his poll in conjunction with Purdue University, asked 30,000 college grads from all 50 states to measure their lives in the following five categories: feelings of purpose to their lives, supportive relationships, financial security, a sense of community and physical well-being.

They were also asked about their financial situation and loan debt.  People who graduated from 2000 through 2014 with $50,000 or more in unpaid loans rated lower in all five categories than grads who were debt-free.

The immediate ramifications from high debt are the need to take a job, perhaps not in one’s field, to pay down the loans; the postponement of getting married and/or buying a house; and stress that affects physical health.

Down the road, the inability to save also delays establishing a nest egg for retirement, which only makes people more anxious.

Currently, 70 percent of grads are in debt and what’s worse, Busteed says, is that average debt is getting close to $50,000.