The latest news from the New York Federal Reserve Bank confirms suspicions about the burden of student loans, especially in New York City. The Regional Household Debt and Credit Snapshot found the average student loan debt was $34,300 during the last quarter of 2014.
The latest numbers on student loan debt support calls for reform by advocates like Senator Elizabeth Warren. The Massachusetts Democrat proposed a law to make it as easy to refinance a student loan as it is to refinance a mortgage.That would give students a real shot at lowering the interest rates on their loans when interest rates go down. Right now, they’re stuck with paying relatively high interest rates.
New York City students have more reason than most to root for a plan to refinance their college loans. The Fed study found that debt for students in the city is higher than for those throughout the state who carry an average balance of $31,000. And it’s higher than the national average of about $28,000.
College loan delinquencies plague New Yorkers. The most troubling statistic in the Fed’s analysis reveals that 14.7 percent of city student loan holders were seriously delinquent in the last half of the year. That means they hadn’t made a payment in 90 days or more.
Depressingly, researchers found student loan delinquencies surpass credit card and mortgage delinquencies.
President Obama issued an executive order in June of 2014 that should help some. About 5 million people nationwide will get an opportunity to tie their monthly payments to what they earn. This means your loan payment could be capped at 10 percent of your monthly income starting in December 2015. The order covers those who borrowed money between October 2007 and October 2011.
If you’re eligible, take advantage and if your loan servicer gives you trouble and makes it difficult for you to stay on top of what you owe, complain to the US Department of Education, or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.