WASHINGTON— A new analysis by AARP Public Policy Institute (PPI) found student loan debt is a staggering problem across generations: Americans 50 and older held $336.1 billion, or 22%, of the $1.6 trillion in student loan debt in 2020. In 2004, older borrowers accounted for 10 percent of the $455.2 billion student loan debt.
“Student loan debt is becoming a burden for all generations, ensnaring more older adults and delaying or battering the retirement plans for many,” said Gary Koenig, AARP Vice President, Financial Security. “Paying for higher education was never meant to last a lifetime. That is why AARP is helping individuals take charge of their debt and financial security.”
PPI analysis found that millions of borrowers – including as many as seven million individuals ages 50-plus – have had their payment suspension extended through September due to the pandemic. However, around a fifth of student loan debt – more than $300 billion – is not included in the current suspension.
Older adults have student loan debt from their own educational pursuits, borrowing to finance their children’s education or co-signing private student loans. Further, AARP research shows a quarter of co-signers 50-plus needing to make payments because the student borrower fails to do so.
To help individuals manage their student debt, today AARP and Savi announce a new student loan repayment tool to help individuals identify the best payment options, with special features for the 50-plus population. The Savi Student Loan Repayment Tool provides a free, personalized assessment of student loan repayment options. It can also help individuals identify loan forgiveness opportunities based on employment, and assistance in preparing and filing paperwork.
“We’ve seen the generational impact of student loan debt, and we’re excited to work with AARP in helping older borrowers access immediate and long-term relief,” said Tobin Van Ostern, co-founder of Savi. “This is about changing the narrative and providing freedom from the burdens of student debt to those who need it most.”
Any adult with student loans may use the online tool at no cost, after registering at AARP.org/studentloans. AARP worked with Savi to customize the tool for older borrowers, and includes:
- Options for dozens of national and state repayment and forgiveness programs.
- Synchronize federal and private loans across all loan servicers easily with industry standard security.
- Support from student loan experts.
- Access to free educational resources.
Additionally, AARP has worked with Savi to help provide this tool to low income older adults at no cost through AARP Foundation. As older adults are the largest growing age group of student loan borrowers, AARP and Savi are committed to helping them access the tools they need to tackle student loan debt.
AARP’s collaboration with Savi does not involve or promote student loan refinancing of any kind and only supports taking advantage of existing student loan options.
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.
Savi is a social impact technology startup in Washington, D.C. working to solve the student debt crisis affecting 46 million borrowers by helping them discover new repayment and loan forgiveness options. Founded by long-time student loan experts and advocates, Savi is a public benefit corporation that has identified more than $200 million in projected forgiveness for student loan borrowers. Savi works with employers, membership organizations, and financial institutions to provide our service as a unique student loan benefit.