“My children (one now in college and one on the way) know that my wife and I will not be helping them financially, and they will not be taking loans.
If they have to work for 10 years through college, that is better than being in debt for years to come.”
That’s how Bozeman, Mont., chiropractor Don Funke responded when we asked him and other sources in the Public Insight Network this week for their experience with student loans. Funke, who treats humans and horses, turns 50 this month, and has just $9,000 left to pay off from the $88,000 he originally borrowed for his chiropractic training.
He is one of 12.5 million Americans age 40 and older who are still paying down school debt. If you are, too, we want to hear your story.
When we talk about student loans, we usually think about young people — college grads and 20-somethings struggling to make their payments. But of the $900-plus billion in student loan debt in the U.S., more than a third is held by people over age 40, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Play with the bank’s interactive charts yourself and you’ll see that these older Americans are struggling to pay down school debt — much more so than 20-somethings.
For example, nearly 12 percent of education loans to people in their 40s are more than 90 days delinquent. This is compared to 6.2 percent delinquency for borrowers under age 30.
Moreover, while borrowers younger than 30 owe, on average, $20,835 in school debt, the average borrower in his or her 40s owes $27,103. Amazingly, borrowers over age 60 still owe an average of $19,225!
So we want to know: Did you borrow money for school? How much do you still owe? How have changes in your life situation over the years made repaying these loans easier or more difficult?
Share your personal experience with reporter Samara Freemark here. You’ll inform her reporting on a part of the student loan debt crisis that gets little attention, and she may contact you for more information.
Feel free to contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-290-1289 with any questions.