Too Many Young Voters Are Drowning in Student Debt

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This story is published as part of StudentNations Vision 2020: Next Generation Election Stories, reports by young journalists that focus on the concerns of various young voters. In this project, in collaboration with Dr. Sherri Williams recruited young journalists from diverse backgrounds to come up with story ideas and share their peers’ concerns about the most important choices in our lives. We will continue to publish two stories each week through September.

J.Onathan Moraga’s dream school was the American University. Born in Miami, Moraga wanted to study political science in the capital of the country. But he never expected the high cost of living and student loans to drive him out of university.

When the financial burden got overwhelming, he moved to Florida International University, nearly 900 miles from Washington, where tuition fees are $ 26,000 lower than American University. “Most other students don’t have to work or think about student loans. They just have to remember to go to school,” said 21-year-old Moraga. “I just felt at a disadvantage. I know a lot of people who graduate and can’t find a job after college and the problems only worsen when you’re in a minority. “

Despite the ongoing student loan debt crisis, young voters fear that presidential candidates will once again be overlooked as a national crisis – a crisis that often prevents students from improving their lives after graduation. Given the constant threat of loan payments, debtors need to worry about paying them back rather than focusing on their socio-economic mobility.

Student loan debt is one of the largest forms of debt in the country, according to a March 2019 report by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Americans owe a total of $ 1.6 trillion in both federal and personal loans.

According to the Federal Reserve and the Federal Reserve Bank, students who graduated in 2019 owed an average of $ 29,900 in personal and federal loans. Additionally, 14 percent of parents loaned an average of $ 37,200 to federal parents in 2019 plus Loans according to the same data. Nationwide, nearly half of black borrowers defaulted on their loans and 75 percent dropped out of college, according to the Center for American Progress.

Student loan debt has inevitably become a bigger problem for color and low-income borrowers who are hardest hit. In Washington, DC alone, racial differences have influenced educational levels. For example, in Brentwood, one of Washington’s poorest neighborhoods, around 33 percent of residents get a post-secondary degree, 53.4 percent get a high school diploma only, and 13.6 percent get no high school diploma at all. In Georgetown, one of the wealthiest areas, 92 percent of residents have a post-secondary degree, 6.5 percent a high school diploma, and 0.6 percent no high school diploma, according to a study by the Statistical Atlas takes data from the US Census Bureau. And these trends are reflected in cities across the country.

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