How the Pandemic-Related Recession Could Affect Student Debt

Research and resources examining the impacts on borrowing patterns and repayment challenges

How the Recent Recession Could Affect Student Debt

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the higher education system and on student borrowers. In these uncertain times, student loan trends, influenced by enrollment patterns, the labor market, the cost of school, and other factors, continue to shift.

Researchers from The Pew Charitable Trusts analyzed the student loan environment from multiple angles, drawing upon data and literature from past recessions and natural disasters to contextualize the situation facing student borrowers and to anticipate future changes and challenges in student borrowing. The materials collected here explore key factors that shape the COVID-era student loan landscape, including borrowing levels, delinquency and default rates, trends in higher education enrollment and financing, and families’ financial stability during economic downturns.