NEA Report: Student Debt Hinders Educators

NEA has released a first-of-its-kind report on the impact of a growing mountain of student loan debt among educators.
The report, “Student Loan Debt Among Educators: A National Crisis,” found that no segment of educators is immune from the burden of student loan debt – not young educators, not older and more experienced educators, and certainly not educators of color.

With this crisis, however, comes the opportunity for transformation. That is why MEA and NEA are uniting educators and our allies to fight for a higher education system that is accessible and affordable to everyone. Learn how you can take action and spread the word here.

Important findings within the report include:

• About three-fifths (59%) of educators with unpaid loans reported that the debt had a bearing on their ability to build up their emergency savings and four in 10 said that paying off their student loans impacted their mental, emotional, and/or physical well-being.

• Black educators took on significantly more debt than other racial/ethnic groups, with an average initial total of $68,300 among those who took out loans, compared to $54,300 for White educators and $56,400 for Latin(o/a/x), Hispanic, and Chican(o/a/x) educators. Sixteen percent of Black educators who used student loans borrowed $105,000 or more compared to 11 percent of White educators.

• Two-thirds of educators ages 61 and up with unpaid student loans report that paying down their debt has affected their ability to save for retirement. Even half of the youngest educators— those ages 18–35—said that this was a predicament for them.



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