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AARP AARP States Virginia Voters

2021 Virginia Election Survey: Likely Voters Support Easing Burden of Student Debt

Student Loan Application
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Summary of Key Findings

Nearly half (44%) of all voters say that they or a loved one has faced challenges due to student debt, including 59% of voters 18-49 years-old and almost 3-in-10 voters 65+.

One-third of voters 18-49 say student debt prevented them or a loved one from getting needed health care; 60% of voters 50-64 say that they or loved ones couldn’t save for retirement; and 1-in-6 (17%) of voters ages 65-plus say that student debt prevented them or loved ones from retiring.

Almost 6-in-10 likely voters (59%) – with nearly identical support among age groups – support an increase of state government support for public universities so more people can afford college tuition.

More than 3-in-4 (77%) of likely voters say the state government should protect borrowers from predatory loan practices and increase oversight of the largely unregulated student loan servicer industry.

Survey of 800 Virginia Registered Likely Voters Age 18+ conducted by Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University on behalf of AARP, August 15-23, 2021. Margin of error +/-3.6%

The full research report will explore how voters across the state feel about – and expect candidates to address – key health and financial security challenges that impact Virginians of all ages.


Student Debt Questions

1. In 2020, Americans owed $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, second only to mortgage debt, which has challenged their ability to do things like save for retirement or buy homes. Have you or a loved one faced challenges due to student debt?




Total (%)18-49 (%)50-64 (%)65+ (%)
 N800283217300
Yes44594629
No55395470
Don’t Know1202





Total (%)White




(%)
Black




(%)
Other (%)Hispanic (%)
N8005521608938
Yes4438644834
No5561365163
Don’t Know12113





Total (%)Male




(%)
Female




(%)
 N800392408
Yes444346
No555653
Don’t Know112





Total (%)Northern (%)Richmond-Central (%)Hampton Roads-East (%)South/Southwest




/West (%)
 n800253190190167
Yes4442494641
No5557515357
Don’t Know12012





Total (%)Very Liberal/ Liberal (%)Moderate




(%)
Very Conservative/ Conservative




(%)
n762208265289
Yes44614236
No55365864
Don’t Know1310





Total (%)Urban (%)Suburban




(%)
Rural




(%)
n800122407271
Yes44454641
No55545358
Don’t Know1121





Total (%)HS or lessVocational/




Tech training (%)
Some College




(%)
College Grad or more




(%)
n78412049223392
Yes4523494849
No5477514951
Don’t Know10041

2. [If yes] Has student loan debt prevented you or a loved one from…[INSERT ITEM]




Percentage Saying YesTotal (%)18-49 (%)50-64 (%)65+ (%)
 n35416710186
Retiring 28303417
Saving for retirement60676045
Buying a home44534229
Buying a car38473622
Opening a business29343119
Changing jobs33203935
Getting health care you need29332824




Total (%)White



(%)
Black



(%)
Other (%)Hispanic



(%)
 n3552101024313
Retiring2824382369
Saving for retirement6056744577
Buying a home4438554362
Buying a car3836472346
Opening a business2918562157
Changing jobs3331441729
Getting health care you need2930292654




Total (%)Male



(%)
Female



(%)
 n354167187
Retiring282631
Saving for retirement606060
Buying a home444245
Buying a car383540
Opening a business293029
Changing jobs333233
Getting health care you need292830




Total (%)Northern (%)Richmond-Central (%)Hampton Roads-East (%)South/Southwest



/West (%)
 n355106948768
Retiring2821323328
Saving for retirement6057626653
Buying a home4451434038
Buying a car3846353529
Opening a business2929263527
Changing jobs3336332932
Getting health care you need2929303224




Total (%)Liberal/



Very Liberal (%)
Moderate (%)Conservative/  Very Conservative (%)
 n356127111104
Retiring28323120
Saving for retirement60736146
Buying a home44564429
Buying a car38543620
Opening a business29352823
Changing jobs33413322
Getting health care you need29352625




Total (%)Urban (%)Suburban



(%)
Rural



(%)
 n355122407271
Retiring28382823
Saving for retirement60786249
Buying a home44464935
Buying a car38434030
Opening a business29353222
Changing jobs33463327
Getting health care you need29343517




Total (%)HS or lessVocational /Tech training (%)Some College



(%)
College Grad or more



(%)
 n3552824105190
Retiring2818293226
Saving for retirement6031676461
Buying a home4446294644
Buying a car3829254238
Opening a business2932123428
Changing jobs3325173235
Getting health care you need293683427


3. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements related to college affordability? If you are unsure, please say that.

  • A. State governments should increase their financial support for public universities so more people can afford college tuition.



Total (%)18-49 (%)50-64 (%)65+ (%)
 n800283217300
Agree59606057
Disagree29312826
Unsure1281115
Don’t Know1011




Total (%)White



(%)
Black



(%)
Other (%)Hispanic



(%)
 n8005521608938
Agree5953884368
Disagree293364429
Unsure12136113
Don’t Know11010




Total (%)Male



(%)
Female



(%)
 n800392408
Agree595663
Disagree293324
Unsure121113
Don’t Know101




Total (%)Northern (%)Richmond-Central (%)Hampton Roads-East (%)South/Southwest



/West (%)
 n800253190190167
Agree5963585756
Disagree2923293429
Unsure121312814
Don’t Know10111




Total (%)Liberal/ Very Liberal (%)Moderate (%)Conservative/ Very Conservative (%)
 n764208265291
Agree59886038
Disagree2942550
Unsure1281511
Don’t Know1001




Total (%)Urban (%)Suburban



(%)
Rural



(%)
 n800122407271
Agree59696152
Disagree29222635
Unsure1291213
Don’t Know1011




Total (%)HS or lessVocational /Tech training (%)Some College



(%)
College Grad or more



(%)
 n78212149221391
Agree6053576460
Disagree2831312728
Unsure111712911
Don’t Know10011

  • B. State and federal governments should provide stronger oversight and regulations to prevent student loan servicers and debt collectors from engaging in deceptive and abusive practices.


Total (%)18-49 (%)50-64 (%)65+ (%)
 n800283217300
Agree83858779
Disagree1011811
Unsure6459
Don’t Know0001




Total (%)White



(%)
Black



(%)
Other (%)Hispanic



(%)
 n8005531608838
Agree8383946890
Disagree1011321