Have you ever wondered about what career you wanted to pursue and immediately considered salary as the most important factor?
More specifically, did you think about which career path would allow you to pay off your student loans as quickly as possible?
LendEDU has just released data that reveals which professional paths will give student loan borrowers the most efficient route to paying off their student debts.
Average Student Loan Repayment Rates by Career
In an ode to the 21st century, student loan borrowers who chose careers related to technology, information services, or scientific services proved to be paying off their student loans the fastest.
Those who followed a career in computer and electronic manufacturing were repaying their student debt at the fastest rate. This group of professionals graduated with an average debt of $50,733 and currently hold an average student debt balance of $26,166. Computer and electronic manufacturing professionals have repaid 43.5 percent of their debt.
Following computer and electronic manufacturing professionals was information services and technology professionals, who have repaid 41.7 percent of their debt.
Respondents who followed a career in scientific or technical services have repaid 40.4 percent of their debt, the third highest repayment rate. Additionally, software professionals have repaid 35.8 percent of their student loan debt, good enough for fifth on the list.
Finance and insurance professionals, a career that has been stable and relatively lucrative for many decades, graduated with an average student debt balance of $32,244. These workers now have an average student debt of $22,826, meaning they have repaid 35.6 percent of the debt. Finance and insurance professionals had the sixth highest percentage of student debt paid off.
Interestingly, two professions that are typically associated with top-of-the-line salaries are towards the bottom of the list of careers in terms of being able to repay student loans. Health care professionals, such as doctors, have repaid 26.7 percent of their student debt. Meanwhile, legal services professionals, such as lawyers, have only repaid 25.1 percent of their educational debt. The former had the 12th highest repayment rate, while the latter had the 13th highest repayment rate.
The explanation for why these two professions, both typically associated with wealth, have not been able to pay off their student loans faster is because they must get a professional degree after receiving an undergraduate diploma. Both medical school and law school are extremely expensive and each will add a considerable sum to a borrower’s student debt total.
The careers that proved to be paying off their student loans the slowest were those who were unemployed, retail professionals, and agriculture and forestry professionals. Those who were unemployed graduated with $34,823 in debt and currently hold $33,952 in student loan debt, meaning they have repaid 15.9 percent of their debt.
Retail professionals have only repaid 12.7 percent of their educational debt, the second lowest percentage on the list. Further, agriculture and forestry professionals left school with $62,356 in student debt and currently have $27,793 in outstanding student loans. This means they have repaid 11.5 percent of their student debt, the lowest rate on the list.
One thing of note was that careers that are eligible for federal student loan forgiveness featured some of the lowest repayment rates. Many careers eligible for student loan forgiveness are low-income jobs, and being in the right profession does not mean an automatic qualification for the government’s loan forgiveness program. Nonetheless, it is interesting to speculate if many of these professionals are struggling to repay their loans when they might be eligible for loan forgiveness.
For example, teachers in low-income areas may qualify for student loan forgiveness. According to our data, education professionals have only repaid 20.6 percent of their student loans, the fourth lowest rate on our list. Government and public administration workers may also qualify for loan forgiveness, but they have only repaid 24.8 percent of their student debt. Government and public administration professionals had the eighth lowest percentage of student loans paid back. Further, social assistance workers had the 10th lowest percentage of student loans paid back at 26.7 percent and they too can qualify for student loan forgiveness.
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.
Every respondent was asked to honestly self-report their career category according to the options that were presented to them. 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 four 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 and filter it all out by individual career categories.
Author: Mike Brown
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