We all know that student loans blowv— sending money off into the abyss each month is much less satisfying than getting new shoes or, I don’t know, buying groceries. Well, It turns out that it’s not only your wallet that’s hurting — a new study confirms that student loans are bad for your health as well.
It comes as no surprise that the crippling pressure of student debt is bad for graduates’ well-being. Student loan repayment is a leading cause of stress for young adults, and with good reason…our student debt is enormous! The average debt for a 2014 graduate is a whopping $33,000, and the combined student debt in America amounts to over $1 trillion. According to the Federal Reserve, undergraduate and graduate debt combined exceeds American’s overall credit card debt.
Researchers at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles set out to find how the burden of student loans affects the mental health of young people who are just beginning adulthood. Looking at a nationally representative sample of young adults, they found that graduates who reported higher amounts of student loans also reported higher levels of depressive symptoms. This relationship held true after researchers adjusted for factors such as parental wealth and childhood socioeconomic status.
These findings mirror a 2014 Gallup study that looked at how different levels of student debt affects the well-being of students. This study surveyed 11,000 adults who graduated college between 1999 and 2014, and asked them if they were “thriving” socially, financially, physically, and when it came to a sense of purpose and community. Graduates without loans reported to “thriving” more than students with the most debt in four out of the five categories. Even more depressing, the Gallup study found that the negative consequences of high student debt don’t stop when loans are fully repaid.
So what does this mean? Student loan reform has been gaining traction as college tuitions skyrocket, but studies like this prove that it’s not just an issue of finances. Hopefully with more research on the adverse health effects of student loans, politicians will shape up and realize that it’s time for a change.