Years after being labeled the state with the highest per capita student loan debt, Georgia is seeing student debt and college dropout rates continue to increase.
Every year student loan debt is preventing many Georgians from buying houses, putting money into savings, and making financial investments. These financial repercussions are crippling, but a recent study by Student Loan Hero found that the physical results of student loan debt are even harder to deal with.
“Debt is much more than a numbers game. It can cause borrowers to feel worry, shame, and even hopelessness as they try to navigate life feeling like they can’t achieve important adult milestones with this ball and chain tied to their money,” said Shannon Insler, lead researcher for the survey. “It’s important for borrowers to tackle the psychological effects their debt so they can live healthier, more fulfilling lives and create a financial plan that is truly sustainable for them.”
More than 61 percent of people surveyed said they feel their worry over student loan debt is “spiraling out of control,” and more than 70 percent said they suffer from headaches due to the stress of it.
Other respondents mentioned having additional physical symptoms from stress including muscle tension, anxiety, insomnia and stomach aches, because of student loan debt. Additionally, more than 74 percent of respondents said they have isolated themselves from their loved ones because of their student loan debt.
For adults who have student loan debt but no degree, the economic and psychological impacts are even bigger. This is because they have the same financial pressure but without the increased earning potential that a degree would’ve given them.
Growing debt and increased college dropout rates are a danger to the Georgia economy because indebted workers don’t spend as much money and they default on their loans more frequently. The growing dropout rates mean a future shortage of skilled workers. Plus the physical symptoms of stress from student debt means an increased chance of missed work.
As long as student loan debt continues to skyrocket, Georgian’s health will plummet and Georgia’s economy will weaken. We must continue to push our lawmakers to create policies that decrease the crippling effects of student loan debt.