Why student loans are a big campaign issue

Updated
American Households with Student Loan Debt on The Rise.
American Households with Student Loan Debt on The Rise.
Pew Research Center

How Important are student loans in this campaign?

President Obama has made government loan programs for students a key part of his re-election campaign. The first lady frequently mentions the burden of student loans at her campaign appearances, saying her and the president just recently paid off their own loans. Mitt Romney has even been asked about paying for college at campaign events. (He once told a questioner to “shop around” for the cheapest college and another time said people should borrow money from their parents.)

Pew Research Center has once again put a very serious issue into perspective. Pew headlines their newest study this way: “A Record One-In-Five Households Now Owe Student Loan Debt, Burden Greatest on Young, Poor.”

Pew Reports:

About one out of five (19%) of the nation’s households owed student debt in 2010, more than double the share two decades earlier1 and a significant rise from the 15% that owed such debt in 2007, just prior to the onset of the Great Recession

The burden from those student loans has never been greater:

 

The Pew Research analysis also finds that a record 40% of all households headed by someone younger than age 35 owe such debt, by far the highest share among any age group.

It also finds that, whether computed as a share of household income or assets, the relative burden of student loan debt is greatest for households in the bottom fifth of the income spectrum, even though members of such households are less likely than those in other groups to attend college in the first place.2

Since 2007 the incidence of student debt has increased in nearly every demographic and economic category, as has the size of that debt.

Since 2007 the incidence of student debt has increased in nearly every demographic and economic category, as has the size of that debt.

Will the student loans issue impact your vote in November?

Student Loans and Debt

Why student loans are a big campaign issue

Updated