Some college graduates would give up coffee, shave head, spend week in jail to erase student loan debt, survey finds

A majority of college graduates with student loans said they would shave their head if the debt could be erased, according to a new survey, and some others said they would consider giving up coffee and even spending a week in jail.

OnePoll conducted the research on behalf of Splash Financial. Researchers surveyed 2,000 graduates – 1,000 with undergrad degrees and 1,000 with graduate-level degrees, the New York Post reported. Of those surveyed, 89 percent believe their debt is a life sentence.

The graduates were asked what sort of measures they would consider taking to erase their student loans. More than half – 51 percent – would shave their head, while 49 percent would walk to work for a month.

The other extreme measures they would take were:

  • Giving up coffee for life – 40 percent
  • Reliving their high school experience – 40 percent
  • Not taking time off from work for a year – 40 percent
  • Spending a week in jail – 39 percent

Most of the participants also discussed sacrifices they made in their lives because of the loans.

The most common sacrifices made for student loans were:

  • Skipping a social event or gathering – 39 percent
  • Creating a side job or extra revenue base – 39 percent
  • Budgeting – 38 percent
  • Taking a job they didn’t like but paid well – 36 percent
  • Skipping a meal – 35 percent

In turn, those sacrifices led to participants noting some of the dreams they believe they can’t attain financially because of the debt.

The most common ideals were:

  • Buying a home – 43 percent
  • Saving for retirement – 43 percent
  • Moving to a new city – 42 percent
  • Moving a new place – 39 percent
  • Taking a vacation – 39 percent

Survey participants also noted how they felt about the debt emotionally and the most common emotions were worry and frustration at 47 percent, followed by feeling overwhelmed at 41 percent.

According to the Pew Research Center, about one-third of adults under the age of 30 have student loan debt and young college graduates were more likely than those without loans to struggle financially.

Credit Karma, a financial credit-monitoring service, suggests that those struggling to pay their student loans should consider changing their repayment plans, consider consolidating the loans into one amount with a fixed interest rate, or looking for loan forgiveness programs.