| May 9, 2016

Entitled to Student Loan Forgiveness

Millennials have a reputation of entitlement, but are they really?

It’s nothing new that older generations often feel like the young have it easy, but recently that feeling seems to be solidifying into the opinion that the younger generation is just spoiled and they expect to get things without giving anything in return.  In fact, in 2014 a survey was conducted and 65% of Americans believed “entitled” was a good way to describe Millennials (age 18-29), while 71% thought “selfish” worked, too.

 

Still, are America’s youngest consumers really entitled or is it just the same story of the old painting the young in a harsh light?

That’s what Credit Sesame sought to find out in an independent study they conducted of Millennials. Rather than polling older Americans, they went right to the source and Millennials some tough questions about what they may perceive as a financial system that’s stacked against them.

  • 58% of Millennials feel financial systems are fair as they are
  • 9% believe student loans should be more easily forgiven
  • 3% think it should be easier to get a high credit score
  • 5% feel they should be able to freely spend money on traveling
  • 6% think it’s okay to live with your parents and not feel bad about it

All in all, according to the survey results most Millennials aren’t looking for a free ride. They simply want a financial world where they can achieve stability and reach their goals fairly… and, really, don’t we all?

1 in 5 feel student loan forgiveness is too difficult to achieve

The most notable result of the survey is that even many of those Millennials who don’t want handouts elsewhere feel that the student loan forgiveness process is a game they can’t win. However, that’s only an entitled opinion if it isn’t true. So let’s look at the facts:

To qualify for student loan forgiveness

  1. You have to have federal student loans, so no private loans will be eligible.
  2. They have to be yours, so it can’t include PLUS loans from your parents.
  3. You have to be working in the public service sector – so first responders, nurses, teachers, military service members and other public servants are the only ones eligible for loan forgiveness
  4. You have to be enrolled in a federal student loan consolidation program, so you must enroll in one of three programs available – if you enroll in the other two, you can’t qualify for forgiveness

So when it comes to true student loan forgiveness, it can be valid to say that only a limited number of people qualify. The reason this type of forgiveness exists isn’t because the government believes all students have gotten a bum deal when it comes to borrowing for school. Student loan forgiveness programs are designed to help those who went into public service instead of the private sector. Public positions allow you to serve the community, but often involve lower pay. Student loan forgiveness is designed to offset the burden created by that lower pay scale.

Relief and forgiveness are two different things

What’s important to note – and what wasn’t expanded on by Credit Sesame – is that Millennials may not actually be asking for true student loan forgiveness. In other words, those Millennials that believe the deck is stacked against their favor may not want their remaining balances erased completely without penalty, which is what happens once someone becomes eligible for the student loan forgiveness programs described above.

Instead, Millennial student loan borrowers may really be asking for debt relief. In other words, they want a system that makes it easier to pay back what they borrowed. It’s not that they want a free ride, what they actually want is an achievable path forward. And if that is the case, then student loan consolidation is usually the answer.

“Like many government-backed financial resources, federal student loan consolidation programs are often underutilized because borrowers simply don’t know they exist or they don’t understand the programs,” explains April Lewis-Parks, Education Director for Consolidated Credit. “There are programs that exist TODAY that allow borrowers to lower monthly payments and set a payment schedule that works on an entry-level income that many graduates have. However, it’s up to borrowers to find these programs – or find experts who can point them in the right direction.”

For more information on student loan consolidation and forgiveness programs, visit Consolidated Credit’s Student Loan Debt Consolidation Guide. If you have questions or need help finding a consolidation service, call us at to speak confidentially with a certified credit counselor at no charge.

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