New data obtained by LendEDU shows that divorced student loan borrowers have the most difficult time repaying their student debt.
The average student loan borrower, who is also a divorcee, left college with $45,852 in student debt and currently holds $35,347 in student debt. These numbers mean that, on average, divorced student loan borrowers have only repaid 6.1 percent of their student debt, the lowest repayment rate out of all relationship statuses.
Interestingly, this was not an isolated trend. Further analysis shows that single student loan borrowers repay their student loans at a much a slower rate than do debtors who are in some type of relationship.
Average Repayment Rates by Relationship Status
The group that had the second lowest repayment rate was student debtors who are separated. On average, separated borrowers graduated with $41,845 in student debt and currently hold $37,600 in student loan debt. Separated borrower’s own an average repayment rate of 8.5 percent.
Further, single student loan borrowers had the third slowest repayment rate. Graduating with $41,625 in student debt on average, single borrowers presently hold $31,261 in debt; their repayment rate is 18.7 percent.
When it came to student borrowers who were in a relationship, their repayment rates were much higher than those of single, separated, or divorced student loan debtors.
Married student loan borrowers left college with an average of $37,675 in student loan debt. Currently, the average married student loan borrower has $25,105 in student debt. The average repayment rate on student loans for a married borrower is 32.6 percent, the highest rate.
Additionally, the average respondent that was living with a partner graduated with $40,404 in student debt and currently holds $28,274 in student debt. The repayment rate for those that are living with a partner is 21.3 percent, the second highest repayment rate.
Why would divorcees being repaying their student loans the slowest and married individuals be repaying their educational debts the fastest? One could hypothesize that student loan borrowers who went through a divorce had expensive legal bills to pay before repaying their student loans.
Also, a divorce usually leads to alimony payments that will hamper a student debtor trying to repay their student loans. Not to mention, if a divorce is unforeseen by one party, they could be left scrambling to come up with a plan to repay their debt if they were dependent on their spouse.
Meanwhile, married couples have the benefit of joint incomes that would seemingly expedite the process of repaying student loans.
While those respondents that were separated had the second lowest repayment rate, it was interesting to see single student loan borrowers had a 10 percent higher repayment rate than those that were separated.
Single student loan borrowers may have developed a plan early on to repay their student debts in a timely manner as a single individual. Perhaps separated student debtors were developing a repayment plan with their partner that became useless when they ended their relationship.
However, while single student debtors had a repayment rate of 18.7 percent, it was still lower than those that were living with a partner. This holds true with the theme of this data, that student debtors with a significant other have a higher repayment rate than those who are single, separated, or divorced.
LendEDU gathered the data used in this story from an online poll conducted in April 2017 by Pollfish and commissioned by LendEDU. In total, LendEDU collected data from over 1,300 respondents. All respondents were screened to be a 4-year college graduate who is currently working to repay student debt. Student debt data was self reported by the respondents and was not verified by LendEDU. LendEDU financed this poll.
All respondents were asked to honestly self-report their student debt total at the time of their graduation. We also asked them to self-report what year they graduated college. Poll participants were also asked to self-report their current student debt total. After we gathered these three statistics for each respondent, we could calculate the percentage of student debt that each respondent paid off relative to how much time they have had to pay off their student debts post-graduation.
Author: Mike Brown
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