Over 44 million Americans have student loan debt, per the Federal Reserve. These Americans owe a total of $1.33 trillion, yes with a T, in federal student loans.
There’s 17 million student loan borrowers under the age of 30. On average, those borrowers pay $351 a month ($4,212 annually) for their student loans. And that’s not considering the millions of Americans over the age of 30 still paying for the student loans.
A recent Credible survey, polled 500 millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 with one simple question. What one thing would you give up to have your student loans forgiven?
The choices included the right to vote, texting and using a ride sharing app like Uber or Lyft. Almost 50 percent of respondents said they would give up their right to vote in the next two presidential elections.
Here’s a breakdown of the results
49.8%- right to vote in next two presidential elections
43.6%- never use ride-sharing app again
42.4%- give up traveling internationally for 5 years
27.0%- move in with parents for 5 years
13.2% - give up texting or using a mobile messaging app for one year
8.2% - would rather pay off their student loan debt
If you think it’s surprising that so many would give up their right to vote, consider the following sentences. Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), a nonpartisan research center, showed only 50 percent of adults between the age of 18 and 29 voted in 2016. Only 49 percent voted in 2012 and 52 percent voted in 2008.
However, it doesn’t necessarily mean younger people aren’t interested in being involved in politics. A 2017 HuffPost/YouGov poll showed millennials were more likely to think protest is an effective form of political action. Since the election, 24 percent of 18 to 30-year-olds said they’ve gone to a rally or demonstration. Young adults, per the poll, ranked protest as the most effective political action, next to contacting a local or state representative.
As for the ride sharing apps, the Pew Research Center showed 28 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 30 said they use the services like Uber and Lyft. Seven percent of those said they take an Uber or Lyft at least once a week.
When it comes to traveling internationally, the results of the survey are a little surprising. AARP released a travel snapshot, showing Millennials were more likely to travel internationally than GenXers or Baby Boomers. However, Millennials were more likely to take these types of trips for romantic getaways or summer vacation.
Only 27 percent would be willing to move in with their parents for five years to be student loan-free. The Pew Research Center shows, as of 2016, 15 percent of 25 to 35-year-olds already lived with their parents, five percent higher than GenXers who lived in their parents’ home when they were the same age.
And it’s no surprise Millennials would be less willing to give up the now standard form of communication, texting. A Gallup poll showed texting is the most frequent form of communications for Americans younger than 50. Of Millennials between the ages of 18 and 29, 68 percent admit to sending or receiving texts “a lot” compared to 47 percent of 30 to 49-year-olds and 26 percent of 50 to 64-year-olds.
So, the question becomes, what would you give up to have your student loans forgiven? Tune into WFMY News 2 between 5 and 6:30PM to vote live and have your votes shown on the newscast.