Can borrowers afford their monthly student loan payments? Reduced purchasing power, growing debt, and high interest rates have left many with extremely brittle budgets. Their financial strain can be seen in the increasing rate of consumer credit delinquency.
Since late 2021, a growing number of student loan borrowers have at least one consumer credit payment more than 60 days past due. A recent update from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) shows the trend continuing into 2023. In March, 7.8% of all student loan borrowers had an active delinquency. That’s 1.8% above the pre-pandemic rate of 6.2%.
In a 2021 survey, student loan borrowers estimated a 13.5% chance they’d miss a debt payment within the next three months. Respondents without student loan debt estimated an 8.7% chance of missing a bill. This was at a time when the payment pause was set to end within a few months. It was also before high inflation and interest rates had meaningfully impacted consumers.
The uptick in consumer credit delinquency is a warning. Borrowers who fell behind on debt payments during the payment pause will likely miss student loan payments when the pause ends. Many more are likely balancing their budgets on a knife’s edge. They can’t accommodate another large bill each month.
Personal finances aren’t the only problem. Once repayment begins, systematic limitations will make it nearly impossible for borrowers to access help through traditional student loan support systems. Without proactive outreach from their schools, at-risk borrowers are likely to become delinquent on their loans.
How should your school respond? Make sure you understand the problem and develop a plan to help your borrowers. Our report “Repayment is Coming: The State of Student Loan Borrowers in 2023” explains both the systemic and financial forces shaping the repayment crisis. It also provides a clear plan any school can use to implement a proactive outreach campaign. Get it today for free. The sooner you act, the easier it will be to assist your former students.