Kentuckians are experiencing crippling financial stress from student loan debt / Public News Service


Kentuckians collectively owe more than $20 million in student loan debt, and a new informal survey sheds light on how high student loan payments are affecting the lives of borrowers across the Commonwealth.

Research from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy found nearly one in five inhabitants have student debt, including 20,000 people at retirement age or close to retirement age.

Ashley Spalding, director of research at the Centre, said the situation is preventing many people from buying a home, starting a business or accessing health care.

“Wages aren’t going up that much, and the cost of college is skyrocketing, and interest rates have been high on those loans,” Spalding explained.

The US Department of Education estimates over the past year that it has forgiven more than $17 billion in debt for more than 700,000 borrowers. The Biden administration’s pause on student loan repayments is set to expire on August 31. Experts said it’s still unclear whether the break will be extended into the fall.

Louisville resident Celine Mutuyemaria said she currently has more than $100,000 in student loan debt and said her financial situation is affecting her mental health.

“It affects me in many ways,” Mutuyemaria stressed. “I actually have a lot of anxiety about if and when student loan repayments will resume.”

She added that her student loans are negatively affecting her credit rating, which is a hindrance to her dream of owning a home.

“I think home ownership seems really out of my sight right now because of the burden of my student loans,” Mutuyemaria lamented.

The White House too recently announced it would be cancel student loans of all former Corinthian Colleges students, after investigations found the for-profit colleges defrauded students, the largest loan release by the federal government to date.

Disclosure: The Kentucky Center for Economic Policy contributes to our fund for reporting on policy and budget priorities, criminal justice, education, and hunger/food/nutrition. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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