December 2, 2019
By Aarthi Swaminathan
Student debt isn’t just a student problem. Across the U.S., many parents also struggle with the burden of student loans.
A recent survey by Freedom Debt Relief found that 37% of 1,506 American adults said their children’s college education cost has made them feel financially overwhelmed. And 20% said that the stress has contributed to mental or emotional health issues.
More than 40% said education costs impacted their retirement plan, with 31% indicating that they had “given up retiring when they initially desired.”
Yahoo Finance spoke with one parent in a particularly difficult student loan situation: a 60-year-old factory worker from Scranton, Pa., who had cosigned a loan for his son. (The man, whom we’ll call Frank, asked for anonymity to protect his son.)
‘It’s not nice for a hard-working middle class family’
Frank’s student debt experience began when his son got into a college. As a “middle-class working family” that brings in about $75,000 a year, Frank and his son started borrowing.
The son fell seriously ill after attending the school for one-and-a-half years and dropped out. After his health improved, the son decided to resume his education at a different school. All the while, both father and son continued to borrow.
The expenses began mounting: The family had a refinanced mortgage and credit card debt, as well as home and car insurance to pay. On top of that, they had recurring medical bills. And there was the possibility of more kids going to college.
“[With] some of my bills, I was in no position to barely help myself,” Frank said.
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