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Survey: Borrowers worry how Trump and DeVos will manage this barrier to homeownership

by James F. McClister

The Millennial homeownership rate fell to a 30-year low last year, and a big contributor to that trend is growing student loan debt. The country has an opportunity to address the issue under newly elected President Donald Trump and newly confirmed Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. However, most people don’t expect things to get better. In fact, they expect things to get worse.

In 2016, the National Association of Realtors surveyed non-homeowners with student loans and discovered 71 percent believe their debt is delaying their home purchase.

Why is student loan debt the catalyst for delay? Some said they don’t feel financially secure enough, some can’t qualify for a good mortgage, and most are simply unable to save enough to afford a down payment.

But there is hope: Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos – with new leaders comes new perspectives on old, unsolved problems. However, from what student loan debtors have seen so far, they’re not encouraged, according to a survey from LendEDU that questioned 500 people currently paying back student loans.

Will Betsy DeVos or Donald Trump have an impact on student loan repayment?

Almost 34 percent of respondents don’t expect DeVos to significantly impact their student debt repayment, and 28 percent said the same thing about Donald Trump. But the rest do expect an impact, and most think it will be negative. Forty-two percent of respondents think DeVos heading the country’s Education Department will negatively impact their ability to repay student loan debt, while even more (46.8 percent) think Donald Trump at the country’s helm is bad for them. The share of optimistic respondents was limited to just over 24 percent for DeVos and 25.2 percent for Trump.

Response Betsy DeVos Donald Trump
Yes, a very negative impact 16.40% 20%
Yes, a negative impact 25.60% 26.80%
No impact 33.80% 28%
Yes, a positive impact 20.40% 20.20%
Yes, a very positive impact 3.80% 5%

Will student loan debt, overall, be higher or lower when Trump leaves office than when started?

Over the last decade, student loan debt volume has grown by about $1 trillion. It is a maddening trend that has sparked outrage and numerous calls for reform. As such, one of the metrics for Trump’s success as president will inevitably be whether he’ll be able to lessen the amount of student debt before he leaves office. A little over 27 percent of the survey’s respondents believe our president capable of lowering the amount of student debt. Unfortunately, 44 percent believe Trump to leave office with student debt being higher than it already is. And 16.8 percent think it will be “way higher.”

Response Share Responding
Way higher 16.80%
Higher 27.20%
Same 28.60%
Lower 22.40%
Way lower 5%

Will future students be better or worse off under Trump and DeVos?

There are policies that Trump and DeVos could help enact that would allow people with student loan debt to refinance and even have some of their debt amount forgiven. However, the most significant changes the two will have a chance to make will most seriously impact future students. But according to current student loan debtors, the outlook isn’t so great for them either. The majority of respondents (44 percent) believe the Trump-DeVos tandem will leave future students worse off than they would have otherwise been.

Response Share Responding
Future students will be better off 27%
No change 29%
Future students will be worse off 44%

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