Independent Survey of Federal Student Loan Borrowers

Student Loan Borrower Survey Yields Enlightening Suggestions to Solve Core Issues

Will the Supreme Court give Biden’s loan forgiveness the green light?
Most student loan borrowers say that is not enough to fix the problems.

“My loan balance has ballooned, and I owe more than I initially borrowed after 10 years on an income-driven repayment plan. I have no confidence I will be able to pay back these loans without some changes to forgiveness options, interest charges, or both. It is a burden I could carry into my retirement. Please help address these issues!” — SURVEY PARTICIPANT #82

Borrowers said forgiveness is temporary relief and wouldn’t correct the deeper issues with student loans or provide relief during post-COVID economic challenges

Mesa, Arizona, May 18, 2023—Since 1989, Champions Companies has worked as industry experts with student loan borrowers to help them achieve successful repayment. During the COVID pause, Champion continued to work with borrowers to reduce their debt burden and listen to their frustration with being in limbo and needing answers.  After calling the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and waiting hours to speak with a representative, borrowers still received no guidance or clarity, so they turned to Champion.

After an historical 3+ year pause, Champion wanted to understand borrowers’ needs and we created a survey that asked a few simple questions. Champion pledged to deliver feedback and suggestions from the participants about the student loan system, forgiveness options, and the impact of the payment pause on their lives to lawmakers to effect positive changes in student loan repayment.

The survey included six multiple-choice questions and one question with an optional essay for borrowers to provide suggestions and 63% of participants suggested changes to the student loan system. Borrowers said forgiveness is temporary relief and wouldn’t correct the deeper issues with student loans or provide relief during post-COVID economic challenges. A shocking 47% were unsure if they can make payments when the pause ends, and 25% are not confident they could make student loan payments.

The ideas from participants, of whom 80% graduated, were systemic solutions to create a user-friendly, fair system where loans could be repaid in a reasonable amount of time.

To accomplish this, survey participants offered six enlightening suggestions.

  1. INTEREST RATES: Offer consolidation and refinancing at lower interest rates. Provide future loans at fixed lower or capped interest rates.

  2. SIMPLE INTEREST: Change the way interest is applied to student loans from compound interest to the simple interest method used for mortgages.

  3. FINANCIAL LITERACY: Provide comprehensive financial literacy education focused on managing student loan repayment. Require program completion before loans are approved.

  4. LOWER EDUCATION COSTS: Create low-cost alternatives that provide quality education or job training certifications. Regulate and control the cost of degrees.

  5. TECHNOLOGY: Create a financial aid app to schedule payments, apply for and manage loans, file paperwork or forms, and encourage actions that lead to faster loan payoff.

  6. FORGIVENESS: Restructure forgiveness programs to include community service and interest forgiveness. Simplify the process for qualified borrowers.

The survey shows that the student loan system is broken and has left borrowers feeling hopeless. Perhaps when lawmakers act on these suggestions, a way can be found to fund education using fair terms.

Read the information in this important survey below, which includes several borrower essays.

If you would like to review all of the participant’s essay responses or have questions or comments, please email us.