Survey Shows Concerns with College Debt Fade with Time, Credit Score

June 14, 2016

With $1.27 trillion in outstanding student debt reported last year by the Federal Reserve, this mounting drag on the economy has become a highly charged issue with as many solutions as there have been presidential candidates.

Credit Karma surveyed over 1,000 of its more than 50 million members, asking them to rate 14 issues on a five-point scale ranging from “not at all important” to “extremely important”. We compared the credit scores* of the respondents in aggregate and found that an individual’s credit score can say a lot about what issues matter to them and how that might impact their vote in the presidential election. You can read the full results here.

Here are some of the highlights from the survey on the issue of cost of higher education:

For those with credit scores under 640, the cost of higher education was the fourth most important issue behind healthcare, Social Security, taxes and unemployment. Nearly seven out of ten respondents with credit scores in that range (69%) ranked the cost of higher education as either very important or extremely important.

  • Respondents with credit scores over 750, however, ranked nine other issues as more important. Only 52% of respondents with the highest credit scores said it was very important or extremely important.
  • Three out of four millennials said the cost of higher education was very important or extremely important, compared to fewer than half of respondents over 65.

Methodology: From late March to early April, Credit Karma surveyed 1,018 Credit Karma members who logged into their accounts and asked them to identify the political issues they were most likely to prioritize. Members ranked the issues on a five-point scale from “not at all important” to “extremely important.” We identified the top issues by calculating the percentage of responses in the two highest categories on the scale (“very important” and “extremely important”) and then ranking the issues by the percentage of responses in those two categories.

*Credit score data is based on TransUnion VantageScore 3.0 credit scores pulled by Credit Karma members from late March to early April 2016. All data was aggregated and anonymized. Aggregate level results have a maximum 3.07% margin of error at a 95% confidence level. The survey was conducted to reflect the opinions of the U.S. demographic by percentage of participants in particular age groups in proportion to the most recent Census report. Research was conducted using the Qualtrics Insights platform.