Student loan debt in the United States has ballooned to $1.48 trillion, and 11.2% of borrowers are more than 90 days delinquent on their payments or in default.
Even though the cost of education has risen and wages have remained relatively stagnant, a report from the New York Fed indicates a college degree may still be worth the cost. Those who earn associate’s or bachelor’s degrees earn 15% more than those who do not.
Thus, it seems as if student loan debt is a necessary evil, and a new app wants to help graduates pay back their loans. ChangEd is similar to the investment app Acorns. You link the app to your bank account, and it rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and saves the change. Once your spare change reaches $100, ChangEd transfers the money to your student loan accounts. Since the additional payment will apply toward your principal balance, you can pay off your loan faster and save on interest.
While this app sounds good in theory, it does little to solve the larger problems that many graduates face. If every spare cent is applied to student loans, how will they save money to face emergencies, save for a home or one day retire?
Graduates may be better served to put these additional funds into emergency savings and retirement accounts. Since the interest rate on student loans is still lower than that of credit cards, it is better to take longer to pay off the student loan debt and not accrue credit card debt due to unforeseen emergencies. With compound interest, it is better to start saving for retirement early.