Student loan debt is weighing on retirement savings.
And it’s hitting multiple generations — not only are millennials drowning in college debt, their parents signed on to help their kids with student loans, while some older workers are still paying off their own loans years later.
The lure of a college education cannot be denied, especially when one considers the statistics on what that diploma is worth. The White House pointed out in a recent blog post that “bachelor’s degree recipients [earn] $1 million more in their lifetime and associate’s degree recipients [earn] $360,000 more, compared to their high school counterparts.”
Still, it’s tough to amass thousands of dollars in debt with no clear path toward repayment.
Toward that end, the Council of Economic Advisers pointed to new actions being taken by the White House to further help “the more than 40 million Americans with student loan debt understand their repayment options and access high-quality customer service, strong consumer protections, and targeted support to repay their student debt successfully.”
Here’s a look at 5 of those actions.
1. Increasing the goal for PAYE-type plan enrollment.
The Pay As You Earn (PAYE) program and other income-driven repayment plans are getting a boost, with the administration’s new goal to enroll two million more borrowers in plans like PAYE by this time next year.
Among the actions being taken to achieve this goal are improvements in loan servicing and customer service, better tools and resources, targeted outreach to borrowers, and partnerships with key external organizations under the Student Debt Challenge.
2. Launching StudentLoans.gov/Repay.
Student loan repayment options are complex, and it can be tough to figure out the best options available.
So the U.S. Digital Service and the Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid have launched StudentLoans.gov/Repay to help drive students to their best repayment option in five steps or less.
“Built mobile-first, and using human-centered design,” the White House said, the website “was designed to make repayment information as easy to understand as possible.”
3. Creating stronger consumer protections through new standards for student loan servicing.
The Department of Education and Department of the Treasury, with input from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), came up with three areas to boost student loan borrower rights and protections: