How are Debtors Managing Student Loans?

August 23, 2016

A new survey of over 1,000 student loan holders by Credit Karma working with Qualtrics finds that the majority are carrying $10,000 to $50,000 for their educational experience and many of them are using payments above the minimum, refinancing, consolidation or federal repayment programs to manage the burden.

  • The majority of people with student loan debt took out loans totaling between $10,000 and $50,000, with almost one in four carrying between $10,000 and $20,000.
    • One in five have paid off their debt, but almost the same percentage still owe between $10,000 and $20,000.
    • Almost half hoped to pay off their loans in five years, an equal number said it could take as much as 10 or 20 years. And almost one in 10 said it could take more than 20 years.
  • Three out of four said that they at least sometimes paid more than the minimum; one in three did this often or always.
  • Only one in four had ever refinanced or consolidated their student loans.
  • The bulk of those who have refinanced or consolidated their loans said they did so to reduce monthly payments with a third saying they were trying to reduce interest payments over the life of the loan.
  • Almost 40% of those who have not refinanced said they were not aware they could refinance to reduce payments and interest.
  • One third are taking advantage of federal repayment plans like the Income-Contingent Repayment program.
  • Methodology: Credit Karma, in partnership with Qualtrics, surveyed 1,050 21-40 year-olds who have taken out 1 or more student loans. Research was conducted between June 1 and 6, 2016. All data was aggregated and anonymized.