Recent employment research reflects that around 53% of recent college graduates are unable to find a job in their field of studies after obtaining a bachelor’s degree. They are either completely unable to find employment or they need to settle for a position that does not even require a college degree. This reality is shocking given that the average college debt for 2021, and Americans are more burdened by student loan debt than ever. Among the Class of 2021, 69% of college students took out student loans, and they graduated with an average debt of $29,900, including both private and federal debt. U.S. Student Loan Debt Statistics for 2021.
Due to the high cost of education, parents rely on The Parent Plus Student Loan program that originated in 1965. This program was initially designed for higher-income parents for use at private colleges, and repaying was seldom a problem. As the cost of public education rose, more low- and middle-income families began seeking the loans, anxious to give their children a shot at a secure future. But families’ debt loads soon increased as well, according to federal data, raising the question of whether loans that were ostensibly created to help parents are actually doing the opposite. More than 200,000 families who made less than $40,000 a year took out a Parent Plus loan in 2016 alone, an increase of more than a third from 2008.
Now with jobs lost during the pandemic, policy experts only expect the situation to get worse for Plus borrowers. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs or have had their hours cut this year, and states face gaping budget holes, which in the past have led to huge cuts to higher education. The result has been spiking tuition, which in turn has led to increased student loans.
Surprisingly, older Americans continue to carry college debt as well preventing them from retiring. Using data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a Washington Post story focuses on how student loans are placing a burden not just on America’s young—nothing new there—but on America’s seniors as well.
The data indicates Americans ages 60 and over collectively owe $36 billion in student loans. About 5% of the $85 billion delinquent student loans in the U.S. is owed by borrowers ages 60 and over, and another 12% of the total is the responsibility of Americans ages 50 to 59. In some of these delinquent situations, Social Security checks are garnished in order to pay off student loans.
To avoid these all-too-common pitfalls, in the following blogs I will outline a comprehensive approach to educational and career planning. Thorough personal assessment and thorough research prior to selecting an educational an career path will insure greater financial and emotional reward for young adults, mid-life career changers and interrupting a career to raise a family.