Hispanic College Students at a Campus
About 71% of students see a delay in major life events, including buying a house, a car or even having children, according to a new study by Gallup. Unsplash.com/Alexis Brown

NEW YORK CITY - About seven in ten of all currently enrolled college students or previously enrolled students who stopped out of their program before completing it say they have delayed at least one major life event because of their student loans, according to a new Gallup study.

Titled "Most Student Loan Borrowers Have Delayed Major Life Events," the survey shows that about 71% of students revealed the effects that taking student loan has had on their lives.

The survey was conducted from October through mid November, and it gathered responses from over 14,000 current and prospective college students. This includes 6,015 students enrolled in a post-high school education program (certificate, associate or bachelor's degree), 5,012 adults not currently enrolled with some college but not degree, and 3,005 adults who have never been enrolled in a postsecondary school or program.

The most common among these responses is purchasing a home, named by 29% of borrowers, followed closely by buying a car (28%), moving out of their parents' home (22%) and starting their own business (20%). Moreover, 15% of these borrowers also report they have delayed having children because of this type of loan.

According to the study, even modest amounts of student loans impact major life events.

In fact, more than nine in 10 of those who borrowed at least $60,000 in student loans say they have delayed one or more of these major milestones because of student loans. However, even those who borrowed less than $10,000 in student loans (63% in this category) responded the same thing.

About four in 10 undergraduate students take out loans to pay the costs associated with their degree. Given that the average cost of attendance ranges from $10,000 per year at public two year institutions to $50,000 at private, not-for-profit institutions, student loans will continue to be necessary for millions of Americans pursuing higher education, Gallup argues.

Student loan debt affects students of color disproportionately.

Latinos tend to take longer to graduate college, often because they're balancing school with work, CNBC reported. Financial stress and caregiving burdens lead to half of Hispanic students saying it is "very difficult" or "difficult" for them to remain in their post-secondary education program, according to another Gallup study from last year.

Similarly, loan defaults (stopping loan repayments) tend to exacerbate long-standing wage, wealth and opportunity gaps. Around 29% of white borrowers on their deferral student loans compared to 40% of Hispanic borrowers and 50% of Black borrowers, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The study comes amid increased and continuous efforts by the White House to decrease national student loan debt, which stands at about $1.7 trillion.

Just last week, the White House announced a new round of student debt cancellation, amounting to $7.4 billion and benefitting some 277,000 borrowers. That announcement came less than a month after another round of debt forgiveness for about 78,000 public sector workers, which saw a total amount of $5.8 billion forgiven.

Last year, the government intended to expand the measures of loan forgiveness, but the Supreme Court rejected the program, which would have canceled up to $20,000 for low and middle-income borrowers for an estimated total of $430 billion.

That decision was a heavy blow for Latinos, as about half of all Latino borrowers would have had their entire debt forgiven, according to Excelencia in Education, a Latino student advocacy organization.

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