The idea of student loan forgiveness has increased Bernie Sanders’ popularity with millennials, because the situation has become dire for many American millennials. Some are even resorting to becoming debt dodgers — fleeing the country to escape their student loans.
Here are some perspective on the numbers: the national student loan debt is over $1.3 trillion dollars, and it surpassed auto loan and credit card debt back in 2014. That number increases by more than $2,000 per second and averages over $28,000 per borrower.
Some young Americans are getting so desperate and are even fleeing the country, becoming debt dodgers.
Vice reported on Sunday that this is happening with greater and greater frequency and interviewed several young Americans living abroad, trying to escape from financial institutions that are looking for them.
“The federal government doesn’t have really strong tools for collecting debt from people who move overseas,” Mark Kantrowitz, a student loans expert, said to Vice’s Alexander Coggin . “In theory, you could live the rest of your life in another country.”
That’s as long as you never return to the U.S. and do not work for a U.S. based company.
Coggin interviewed four Americans living in Berlin who were on the run from $260,000 in student loan debt.
A 29-year old from California named Brian said that he never thought of how he’d pay back the $40,000 he owed after graduation, but now lives abroad with the fear that they’re going to come after him.
“I think at this point I owe about $40,000,” Brian said to Vice. “I really, truly, honestly don’t want to pay it back. Sure, I realize the responsibility I took on when I signed the papers and agreed to take out the loans, but I should have never had to do it in the first place. I feel some sort of civic duty not to pay them back, as if my small protest will make any kind of difference.”
Brian must be lying to himself he thinks that’s going to change anything, but he nonetheless insists that his college education should have been provided for “free.”
“I would rather spend my money on things that I need like food and shelter than to give it back for a service that should have been provided for me,” he continued.
Another millennial named Zoe said at first she was responsible, but while studying abroad in Europe she just stopped paying off her debt. After years of the debt claims companies haunting her parents, grandparents, and past employers.
She just recently started paying back her student loans, because she thinks she may want to live in America again some day but is banking on the government to fix her problems.
“The past two years I’ve been banking on this rumored Obama loan forgiveness bill that still hasn’t really been passed,” she said to Vice. “I guess I’ll continue at this rate until they go away? I don’t mean until I pay them off. I mean until the government’s like, ‘You don’t have to pay those loans anymore, you millennial! We know you’re not good for it.'”