When it comes to the biggest concerns facing millennials, education—and how to pay for it—is at the top of the list.
At the Future Forum in Davenport, Iowa this week, many in attendance said their high level of debt made it difficult to reach certain goals or leave a better life for their children.
U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, and the group's chairman, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif co-hosted the forum together. The Future Form is comprised of 26 young Democratic Members of the House of Representatives focused on issues and opportunities for millennial Americans. Davenport was its 35th stop so far.
One of the suggestions made to help these borrowers is improving financial literacy and transparency. The Truth in Lending Act is exemplary of this movement which would require full disclosures before disbursing a loan. Other legislation such as the Empowering Students Through Enhanced Financial Counseling Act seek to increase access to important information and disclosures.
Students in general need more guidance, especially at the beginning of their education before they’ve picked a major. Aside from federal solutions, Swalwell noted that private businesses could inform students about the realities of a potential career before they commit to a certain pursuit of study.
Improving Financial literacy in other areas could certainly help. There are various federal loan programs that can be confusing, and paying those federal loans back only adds to the mix. On top of this, there are various private sector options to paying for college such as income share agreements and private education loans. On top of this, there are even private repayment options such as private student loan consolidation.
Many of these ideas are coming straight from Washington as politicians clamor to find solutions to the already big problem of $1.4 trillion in student debt. Some efforts revolve around stemming the rising cost of tuition while others focus on reducing pre-existing debt.
Swalwell himself is in the process of whittling away at $100,000 in debt. Borrowers in Iowa graduate with an average of $19,064 in debt while the national average is around $28,000. Although Iowa ranks 37th in the nation for student debt, its residents are still reeling from the burden of their debt. One of the biggest issues is finding a high-paying job after graduation which is especially true in rural areas.
Image Copyright Richard Lee