Financial planning and student loan experts caution that the plan unveiled last week by Lennar just swaps student debt for mortgage debt. Buyers of Lennar's homes could receive a payment of up to $13,000 toward their student loans, as much as 3 percent of the home's purchase price, from its subsidiary, Eagle Home Mortgage.
The nation's collective student debt stands at an all-time high of $1.34 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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"Particularly with millennial buyers, people who want to buy a home of their own are not feeling as though they can move forward," Jimmy Timmons, president of Eagle, said in a statement. "Our program is designed to relieve some of that burden and remove that barrier to owning a home."
Payments through the program can go toward loans from universities, community colleges, trade schools and other "certificate-granting programs," Lennar said but can't be used for loans parents take out to pay for a child's schooling.
Others said the program's approach is questionable.
Jason Delisle, a student loan expert at the think tank American Enterprise Institute, said Lennar's student loan payments struck him as a price cut marketed toward debt-laden millennials.
"Why not just give them a discount on the house?" Delisle said. "In theory, a rational person might be indifferent between those two things. But it speaks to when it comes to student loans, we're not so rational."