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Survey Finds That Mainers Are Struggling To Pay Off Student Loans

Mainers are struggling to pay off their student loans, with their debt impacting everything from car purchases to health care.

That's according to the results of a new poll from the Maine Center for Economic Policy. The poll surveyed 400 borrowers across the state, mostly online. More than half reported that they delayed major purchases, like cars, because of debt. A quarter of respondents said loan payments forced them to skip medical appointments or prescription drugs.

The survey also found that many borrowers had issues with student loan providers. Nearly 30 percent of the borrowers surveyed said those problems led them to default on their loans.

"And all of that is dragging back the benefits that a higher education degree should be providing to those Mainers and to Maine's economy."

Mario Moretto is the communication director for the center.

"A lot of politicians are talking right now about doing something to address student debt,” says Moretto. “And we think putting some guardrails, and accountability, around student loan servicing companies has to be a part of that solution."

Last year, Maine borrowers averaged more than $31,000 in student loan debt. That was the 10th-highest ranking in the country.