More Than Half of Students Say Having to Repay Their Federal Student Loans Is ‘Unfair’ – But, They’ve Got Money

Craig Bannister | September 8, 2023
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More than half of students with federal student loans say having to pay off those loans is “unfair” - but, more than half of those who think it’s unfair also say they could easily save more money each month, a new national survey of full-time students in higher education reveals.

Half (49%) of all students surveyed say they have federal student loans, according to a survey conducted by research firm

“Fifty-three percent of students with federal student loans say that having to repay the debt in full is either “somewhat unfair” (31%) or “very unfair’ (21%),” Intelligent reports.

Conversely, surveys of the general public at large show that about half of Americans believe that student loan forgiveness is unfair, especially to people who’ve already paid off their loans and those who never went to college, but would have to foot the bill under a loan forgiveness plan, such as that of Pres. Joe Biden (which was struck down by the Supreme Court).

Likewise, a poll of Baby Boomers, those currently aged between their mid-50s and mid-70s, found that 45% are against are against any form of student loan forgiveness

Curiously, one in five (18%) of students who think it’s “unfair” to repay their loans also say they spend more than $500 a month on non-essential items and 56% say they could easily save more money each month.

The spending habits of students claiming loan repayment isn’t fair aren’t much different than those for all students combined, where one in six spend more than $500 monthly for non-essential items and 63% say they could easily save more money.

Four of five (81%) of all students spend at least $100 a month on each of the following items:

  • Dining Out: 65%
  • Clothing/Accessories: 58%
  • Entertainment: 47%
  • Travel: 21%
  • Alcohol: 13%
  • Gambling: 7%
  • Drugs: 5%
  • None the Above: 7%


Of the 71% of higher-education students who say they have some form of debt, 75% say they’re worried about paying it off.

Among this group:

  • 49% have federal student loans,
  • 32% have credit card debt,
  • 24% have private student loans, and
  • 23% have car loans.