The burden of paying back hefty loans is becoming too much for some college students to bear. In a recent survey of 3,069 students, MagnifyMoney found that 39 percent of those with loans would consider dropping out of school before graduation to avoid taking on more debt.
Of those who would consider dropping out, more than half already owe $20,000 or more. Another 15 percent owe between $10,000 and $19,999.
However, the magnitude of the debt isn't the main reason students would consider giving up. More than half say they'd consider dropping out because it's difficult to balance school with a job. Another 30 percent note that they struggle to balance school with family time.
The burden of student loan debt is a widespread concern. Over 44 million Americans collectively hold nearly $1.5 trillion in student debt and 70 percent of students graduate from college with significant loans.
Outstanding student loan debt has tripled over the last 10 years in the U.S. and the average borrower ends up $37,171 in debt upon graduation.
Plus, as the size of student debt owed has increased, so have monthly payments. The Federal Reserve estimated that the average monthly student loan payment increased from $227 in 2005 to $393 in 2016.
However, many students do expect to recoup their investment once they graduate and join the workforce. MagnifyMoney's survey found that 34 percent of students believe they'll earn an increase of $30,000 or more per year if they complete their degree than they do currently.
Earning a college degree is increasingly a requirement for a high-paying job. According to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the American economy will require education beyond high school.
That means more and more students feel they must attend college, even when it means going deep into debt. A 2017 report from the U.S. Census Bureau found that 33.4 percent of Americans had completed a Bachelor's degree, compared with just 28 percent in 2007.
Although it might seem like a logical move to drop out and save money, it can end up being counterproductive, because those will college degrees earn far more than those without. The numbers speak for themselves: Those with a degree earned an average of $65,482 in 2016, as compared to $35,615 for those with a high school diploma. And those with "some college" but not a degree earn only a little more, $38,376 a year.
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