This is the shocking number of people under 45 still paying off student loans

In a new poll from the Economist/YouGov, it was found that half of the adults with any college education have had student loans, and one in four people under the age of 45 are still paying them off.

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Forty-five million Americans owe $1.5 trillion dollars in student-loan debt, and not everyone is going to have a billionaire philanthropist graduation speaker who will pay off their loans personally.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed getting rid of tens of millions of Americans’ student loans via a wealth tax, but that day, if it comes, is far in the future. A tiny percentage have sought out and been granted public student loan forgiveness, but most people are stuck paying off their debts for the long haul.


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In a new poll from the Economist/YouGov, it was found that half of the adults with any college education have had student loans, and one in four people under the age of 45 are still paying them off.

Among the group of college-educated people 65 or older, 70% of them left school with no student debt – tuition was cheaper back then.

The weight of student debt is much heavier for young people who pay today’s more expensive tuition. A full 56% of those under 30 who had a student loan has (or had) debts of more than $25,000.

Meanwhile, 75% of those 65 and older with student debt had debts of under $25,000. (Only 15% of those under 30 can say the same.)

Was it worth it?

With frustration over the struggle to make payments at a breaking point, many are wondering if their education was even worth it.

For 36% of the overall population, the answer was, “No.” And 46% of those still paying off their debts said it wasn’t worth it.

Those who had paid off their loans looked on the brighter side – 53% said it was worth it.

And those under 45 reported having a particularly hard time kick-starting their life because of their heavy debt burden. 3 in 10 put off buying a home (the same number delayed buying a car). They’ve had to delay bigger life decisions: 15% postponed having children, and 12% took a rain check on getting married.

A recent, related study said it takes Americans an average of 10 years to pay off their student loans.


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Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.