More than 80% of 623 CPAs polled in June by the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA) said they either “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” that student loan debt at $1.6 trillion in the United States is a financial crisis.
More than 75% of respondents considered student loan debt in New Jersey to be a “major problem.”
Poll respondents said their clients have put off major life decisions and purchases due to their high student loan debt. Of the nearly 270 respondents who said they knew someone who delayed this kind of decision or purchase, 80% said they put off buying a home and an almost equal number said they chose not to save for retirement. More than 65% put off saving for emergencies, while 42% put off getting married and 39% delayed having children.
- Federal and state governments limit public college price increases – Schools, for example, should have to publicly report the amount of funds on hand and used for infrastructure each year as excess funds should be used to lower tuition. Respondents also recommended limiting tuition percentage annual increases for any institution for which students use student loans to attend.
- Companies help reduce student loan debt – Companies can offer employees bonuses to pay their student loan obligations. The federal government could also give a tax deduction to an employer who offers to pay off part of an employee’s student loan debt up to a limit of their 401(k).
“The poll is a telling sign that student loan debt is a major problem in the United States. New Jersey’s legislature needs to recognize this and welcome programs and initiatives to shrink student loan debt, particularly if they want young professionals to remain in the state,” says Ralph Albert Thomas, CEO and executive director at NJCPA.