As tuition becomes more expensive and families feel the squeeze, student loan debt payments are now taking precedent over other important payments.
A report released by JPMorgan Chase Institute revealed that for the average American family, student loan payments are being seen as a necessity on the same level as critical goods like fuel. The report laid out how the average family is spending more on paying off student loans than they are on necessities like fuel and healthcare. Their report sampled 4.6 million people who are paying student loans.
Many tuition prices have more than doubled since the 1980s, making student loans a true necessity for low-income families. The problem is that these debts are serious and making payments on them takes a toll on a family’s ability to pay for other important expenses. The JPMorgan Chase report also revealed how families spend an average of 5.5% of their take-home income on student loan payments. A quarter of the families spend 11% of this income on their student loan payments. “While consensus is growing about the increasing role of student-loan debt in America, there is still limited data about how student loan payments fit into the monthly financial picture for most Americans,” explained Diana Farrell, CEO of JPMorgan Chase Institute.
As more information on the topic becomes available, we are getting a clearer picture as to how student loan debts factor into the cash flow of a family. This unfortunate new trend is forcing some to choose how they spend their money much more carefully. Some experts are concerned by the fact that the difficulties that people are having paying off their student loan debts draws parallels to people’s inability to pay their mortgage payments leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.