Economic Stress Among Millennials: Student Loan Debt
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), federal student loan debt has surpassed $1 trillion. This is a jaw-dropping statistic and even worse is the growing number of Millennials, those in their 20s and 30s, who are and will continue to be burdened with levels of debt that will adversely affect their quality of living for the foreseeable future. This social problem is occurring more often among young people who are pursuing higher education, those who have completed college, and can be particularly acute in communities of color.
As a member of the Baby Boom generation, many of us were taught that one of the most reliable ways to gain access to better employment opportunities and achieve the American Dream was through a good education, preferably, a college degree. This is what many in this generation have passed down to their children. The “pay off,” it is assumed and hoped, will be the acquisition of commensurate employment and pay to help make repaying student loans far more manageable. The reality is more and more college-educated young people are joining the ranks of the underemployed and unemployed because of an economically destabilized job market and job scarcity, which can make paying student loan debt all but impossible, especially if the monthly payment amounts to a small mortgage.
As challenging and unfair as this harsh truth is for millions of young people around the country, whose lives are just beginning, this situation may become much worse. Given the current trend, in the not too distant future, we could all hear the deafening boom of yet another financial catastrophe, the bursting of the student loan bubble.