Student Loan Debt Stacking up for Gen Y
Gen Y is more likely than any other generation to carry student loan debt, and 10% of Gen Y members are holding a hefty amount of it – $30,000 or more.
That’s according to the Western Union Payments Money Mindset Index survey’s student debt data for the first quarter of 2012. Gen Y beat out Gen X and Baby Boomers in carrying the most student loan debt totaling anywhere from $1,000 to more than $30,000.
“The most surprising survey result is the amount of debt that Gen Y is accumulating,” said David Shapiro, senior vice president for Western Union. “That speaks to our economic situation in terms of unemployment and how it is impacting students.
“When students do not have savings, or families with savings, and they recognize the value of a college education, they’re going to take on debt. Then when they come into the workforce, the result can be lingering debt.”
Another striking statistic from the survey, according to Shapiro, is the rather high percentage of students who said they’re planning to move in with their parents after graduation due to their student loan debt – 26%. A higher percentage, 34%, said they’re planning to rent an apartment with roommates.
Western Union also found that 12% of female students and just 2% of male students said they believed they’d have no student loan debt or credit card debt as a result of their college education when they graduated.
On a more positive note, 67% of students surveyed said they feel they’re educated about money management and understand the consequences of debt.
Shapiro said in response to the survey results, credit unions can take the opportunity to offer money management tools for their young members.
“Education can come in different forms, and it might include helping with budgeting and setting up recurring payments to ensure bills are paid on time,” he said. “All of these things are what I think the Gen Y consumer is looking for.”