While some people are filling their holiday wish lists with the most popular gadgets of the year, student loan borrowers may be hoping for something a little less glamorous this season— repayment assistance.
In fact, a majority of student loan borrowers said that they would prefer monetary help with loan payments to hot ticket items such as the newest iPhone, valued at $1,000, according to a new poll by LendEDU.
This small, informal poll was based on the responses of 1,000 student loan borrowers to 13 questions about gifts they would prefer to the same amount of money in loan repayment assistance.
In all but one case, a majority of respondents chose the assistance over gifts. In addition to rejecting the latest technology products, around 80 percent of borrowers also said they prefer money toward their loans to one-time experiences, such as tickets to Hamilton on Broadway or the Superbowl, valued at $500 and $3,000 respectively.
The one case where borrowers chose the gift over repayment assistance was that of a one hundred dollar bill, which 57 percent of respondents said they prefered. Research analyst Mike Brown, however, argued that this finding didn’t necessarily mean that respondents were not thinking about their loans.
“Maybe the poll participants intended to just put that $100 towards their student loan balance, which would be an easier process than say, reselling an iPhone X and putting the proceeds towards their debt,” Brown wrote.
What Brown found surprising was that 66 percent of respondents said they preferred repayment help to $1,000 worth of Bitcoin, an online currency, even though the amount could multiply tenfold if the payment system continues to grow in popularity.
Brown said that this finding points to how desperate borrowers are to meet monthly payments.
“They would pass on the opportunity to potentially turn a huge profit (profit they could use to pay off a significant amount of educational debt) because the allure of receiving a $1,000 loan payment is simply too tempting,” Brown wrote in the study.
Brown said that while these results are promising and illustrate the dedication of borrowers to repay their loans, there is also something sad about this hyperfocus on relieving debt.
“There is undoubtedly a tinge of pity because the holidays are meant to be worry-free and enjoyed,” Brown wrote. “Debt should not be suffocating a young consumer so much that they must forego life's simple pleasures.”
Publication Date: 12/22/2017