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Millennial student loan holders are willing to give up voting in the next two presidential elections, ride-sharing apps, and more to have their debt forgiven, a new survey reveals.

The number of people with student loan debt is staggering. According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Education, 42.3 million Americans are paying back $1.33 trillion in federal student loan debt. Lenders are collecting payments on another $64 billion in private student loans. A survey of borrowers by the Federal Reserve puts the median student loan debt balance at $17,000, with monthly payments of $222. Student loan debt can be suffocating for those who are struggling to make payments each month.

To see just how badly people would like to be rid of their student debt, we conducted a survey asking respondents what they would be willing to deal with in order to have their student loans forgiven. Whether it was giving up something they love, or dealing with something they don’t, the results were very interesting.

Key Highlights

In our poll, we targeted respondents that were 18-34 years of age. We received a total of 921 responses from 500 respondents (respondents could select more than one answer). We've analyzed the results of the survey and compiled some key findings:

  • A staggering 49.8% of all respondents said they would give up their right to vote in the next two presidential elections in order to have their debt forgiven
  • Ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft don’t seem to matter to millennials quite as much as some of the other options in the survey. According to the results, 43.6% were willing to give up these services forever in exchange for debt forgiveness
  • Interestingly, 42.4% of respondents would also give up traveling outside of the country for 5 years, while only 27.0% said they would be willing to move in with their parents for 5 years
  • Millennials seem to value texting more than the other options – only 13.2% reported being willing to give up texting and any mobile messaging equivalent for the next year in exchange for having their debt forgiven
  • Only 8.2% of respondents chose to select none of the above and said they would rather keep paying off their student debt

The Crushing Pressure of Student Loan Debt

Student loan debt can either be a mild inconvenience for borrowers, or something that they would do almost anything to be rid of. Millennials as a whole seem to be very focused on student loan forgiveness.

The data from the study also shows how far some are willing to go in exchange for loan forgiveness. Not only that, but it also reveals how some of the priorities stack up for the modern generation. Take a look the chart below to see how various answers stacked up among survey takers:

For example, few are willing to give up their texting or messaging apps, but they are more willing to move in with their parents again, or even give up traveling for five years. Another interesting statistic is the nearly 50% of all respondents who reported being willing to give up voting in the presidential elections in 2020 and 2024 in order to have their student loan debt forgiven.

42.3 million Americans are paying back $1.33 trillion in federal student loan debt.

The rate of millennial voters in the 2016 election lagged behind older generations as well as the general voter turnout rate of 58%. However, millennial voter turnout actually increased to 49.4% in 2016 compared to 46.4% in 2012. Millennials also face the burden of student loan debt more than older generations and the results of our survey reveal just how much that burden compares to the value they place on voting.

Another interesting metric, is the 43.6% who were willing to give up ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft. These apps can be convenient money savers, especially for those who live in big cities where driving isn’t ideal. These respondents would also rather sacrifice these services than give up international travel, move in with their parents, or lose their texting privileges.

Methodology

To obtain our data, we surveyed respondents between the ages of 18-34 years of age that held student loans by asking the following question:

What would you be willing to deal with to have your student loan debt forgiven? (Select all that apply)

    • Giving up your right to vote in the next two presidential elections (2020 and 2024)
    • Never using a ride-sharing app again
    • Not traveling outside of the country for 5 years
    • Moving in with your parents for the next 5 years
    • Giving up texting (and any mobile messaging equivalent) for the next year
    • None of the above, I'd rather keep paying off my student debt

The survey was conducted through Pollfish between September 7 and September 8, 2017. Respondents were able to select more than one option, which resulted in 921 responses from 500 respondents.

We conducted this study to illustrate the burden of student loan debt on millennials, and what lengths they would go to for loan forgiveness. Credible helps people cut into their student debt by refinancing student loans. If you have private student loans and are considering refinancing, check out the best companies to consolidate or refinance your loans.

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