Survey: Student Loans More Stressful than the Pandemic

Previously yr, we’ve handled one disaster after one other. From a pandemic that shut down each day life to racial injustice, financial destruction, and election stress. Our newest 2021 Psychological Well being Survey discovered that high-debt scholar mortgage debtors skilled extra psychological well being impacts that may shock you.

The pandemic prompted a psychological well being pressure significantly amongst 1000’s of our readers, most of whom have six figures of scholar mortgage debt. We sought to unpack whether or not the pandemic or scholar mortgage debt prompted larger stress.

What we discovered reveals the true burden of owing extra out of your training than some folks owe on their home. Amongst high-debt debtors, scholar loans led to extra psychological well being struggles in comparison with the pandemic.

Suicidal ideation nonetheless amongst debtors whose revenue rose

The pandemic ushered in historic job loss for tens of millions of individuals. We discovered that 1 in 20 respondents who’re high-income professionals had suicidal ideation because of the pandemic, no matter debt quantity. Though many individuals skilled job loss or a lack of revenue, some employees noticed a rise of revenue.

What we discovered is that wage will increase weren’t sufficient to eradicate the sensation of suicidal ideation in relation to scholar mortgage debt. In complete, 1 in 14 respondents who’re high-debt debtors skilled suicidal ideation due to their scholar mortgage debt.

Twenty-six p.c (26%) of respondents stated that their revenue elevated in comparison with earlier than the pandemic. However 1 in 17 of those respondents whose revenue went up nonetheless reported having suicidal ideas attributable to debt.

What’s additionally fascinating is that suicidal ideation because of the pandemic was increased for these whose revenue rose when in comparison with these whose revenue remained the identical.

One in 16 debtors whose revenue remained the identical skilled suicidal ideation due to scholar loans, whereas suicidal ideation charges have been 1 in 10 amongst respondents whose revenue fell. Suicidal ideation jumped to 1 in 7 for respondents who misplaced their revenue utterly, confirming that lack of revenue in addition to debt-to-income ratio is a serious subject.

Debt-to-income ratio is the actual subject

Relating to scholar mortgage coverage and methods to mitigate monetary stress associated to debt, it’s straightforward to assume that incomes extra or having mortgage forgiveness choices accessible are straightforward options.

What our survey discovered is that whereas forgiveness choices and incomes extra could be helpful, they really did little to alleviate the psychological pressure associated to scholar mortgage debt.

We see a transparent correlation between debt-to-income ratio and psychological well being struggles and suicidal ideation. When respondents owed considerably greater than they earned, the situations of suicidal ideation elevated. Even when a borrower is incomes extra, it might need a negligible impact on their debt-to-income ratio.

We discovered that 1 in 11 debtors who owed greater than two instances their earnings had situations of suicidal ideation. This can be a drastic change from 1 in 26 debtors who skilled suicidal ideation who owed lower than they earned.

That’s an enormous distinction that marks the rise in psychological misery because the hole between earnings and scholar mortgage debt widen.

A typical private finance rule is to keep away from borrowing greater than your potential annual wage, post-college. Think about owing rather more than your annual wage — it may really feel powerful to get forward when your debt considerably exceeds your revenue.

Pupil loans, not pandemic, prompted extra stress

The pandemic led to extra causes for psychological well being struggles. There was a disruption of our routines and elevated nervousness round COVID-19 itself, on prime of grief and trauma, triggered by dying and loss because of the virus. Regardless of all these pandemic-related issues, our survey discovered that scholar mortgage stress nonetheless had a larger impression on psychological well being in comparison with the pandemic.

Regardless of pandemic scholar mortgage aid, most respondents skilled suicidal ideation at increased charges attributable to their scholar loans, quite than because of the pandemic. This was the case for each single career apart from physicians.

Physicians may be an exception, as a result of they have a tendency to have a decrease debt-to-income ratio and extra mortgage compensation choices, like refinancing and Public Service Mortgage Forgiveness (PSLF).

Plus, it is sensible that physicians would expertise extra stress and suicidal ideation over the pandemic than their scholar loans given their sort of labor. Physicians have been on the entrance strains seeing the trauma of the pandemic up shut.

Beneath you’ll be able to see the pattern measurement and percentages of individuals in particular occupations who skilled suicidal ideation because of the pandemic.



Suicidal Ideation Due To Pandemic (%)

Occupational Therapist



Naturopath or Acupuncturist



Enterprise/Company World















Nurse Practitioner/CRNA/Nurse Midwife


















Dental Specialist






Doctor Assistant






Bodily Therapist









Social Employee



Faculty College or Workers



The pandemic affected genders, equally

Our survey discovered that suicidal ideation associated to scholar mortgage debt disproportionately affected girls. Single girls who earned $50,000 or much less have been hit the toughest.

Nevertheless, in relation to suicidal ideation because of the pandemic, plainly genders have been affected equally. We discovered that 4.7% of male respondents and 4.8% feminine respondents skilled suicidal ideation because of the pandemic.

In line with survey information from the Facilities for Illness Management (CDC), psychological well being points elevated because of the pandemic with 30 p.c of respondents stating they have been coping with signs of despair and nervousness, 26% skilled trauma and stressor dysfunction signs associated to the pandemic, and one other 13% turned to substance abuse.

The underside line

The trauma we’ve skilled over the previous yr might be felt for years to come back. For scholar mortgage debtors, scholar mortgage debt is yet another factor to emphasize about. Even then, it appears scholar loans amongst high-debt debtors and monetary stress are having a larger impression on psychological well being than the pandemic itself.

Though it’s necessary to handle psychological well being issues individually, the survey information illustrates the connection between excessive debt load and monetary stress in addition to psychological well being struggles.

If you happen to’re experiencing psychological well being points because of the pandemic, try ideas and sources from the CDC on dealing with stress.

Refinance scholar loans, get a bonus in 2021

1 Disclosures
$1,050 BONUS1 For 100k+. $300 bonus for 50k to 99k.1
VISIT LAUREL ROAD Variable 1.64-5.65percent1 Fastened 2.25-5.75percent1

2 Disclosures
$1,050 BONUS2 For 100k+. $300 bonus for 50k to 99k.2
VISIT COMMONBOND Variable 2.49-6.84%%2 Fastened 2.59-6.74percent2

3 Disclosures
$1,000 BONUS3  For 100k or extra. $200 for 50k to $99,9993
VISIT EARNEST Variable 1.88-5.64percent3 Fastened 2.44-5.79percent3

4 Disclosures
$1,000 BONUS4 For 100k+. $300 bonus for 50k to 99k.4
VISIT SPLASH Variable 1.88-6.15percent4 Fastened 2.44-6.62percent4

5 Disclosures
$1,275 BONUS5  For 150k+. Tiered 300 to 575 bonus for 50k to 149k.5
VISIT ELFI Variable 2.39-6.01percent5 Fastened 2.47-5.99percent5

6 Disclosures
$1,000 BONUS6 For $100k or extra. $200 for $50k to $99,9996
VISIT SOFI Variable 2.25-6.59percent6 Fastened 2.49-6.94percent6

7 Disclosures
$1,250 BONUS7  $350 for 50k to 100k7
VISIT CREDIBLE Variable 1.80-8.90percent7 Fastened 2.15-9.15percent7

Unsure what to do along with your scholar loans?

Take our 11 query quiz to get a customized advice of whether or not you need to pursue PSLF, IDR forgiveness, or refinancing (together with the one lender we predict might provide the finest charge).

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