Nearly half of college graduates aren’t making any progress on their student loan payments. A new report from Moody’s Investor Services highlights an alarming statistic: 49% of student loan borrowers whose repayment obligations started in 2010-12 have made no progress towards reducing the balances that they started repayment with. None.
Even worse, many recent grads are seeing their balances grow.
Kaitlyn Blount Crow is one of them. As a young adult with dreams of telling other people’s stories, Crow graduated from the University of Alabama in 2015 with a degree in communications—one that left her with $31,000 in student loans.
But her prospects for a full time journalism job were grim. The industry had gone through a continuing plague of layoffs. Jobs paying the average salary of $41,000 for news reporters were difficult to obtain and Crow struggled to find any full-time employment in her field at all.
She started taking low paid freelance jobs—and waiting tables just to squeak by. No way she could swing the monthly payment that would be due on her student loans in a standard 10-year repayment program.
Rather than default on loan payments, Crow enrolled in a federal income-driven repayment plan—one that tied her monthly payment to her earnings. At first, her income was so low her monthly repayment was $0. Nevertheless, she would pay some money towards the loans whenever she could, hoping this effort would eventually help her pay off her student debt.
Later, she got a full time job and her monthly payment rose to its current $150, which still isn’t enough to cover the interest on her loans. She has continued to make extra payments when she can, yet Crow’s original student loan balance of $31,000 has bubbled up to $34,448. “Watching your balance go up despite making regular, on-time payments is pretty disheartening,” she says, adding, “I honestly wondered why I had bothered with the extra payments.” Kaitlyn Blount Crow has paid over $2,000 to her student loans, but her current balance is thousands Smaller monthly payments and longer loan terms mean stagnant student loan balances
Although the origination of new student loans has […]