Are you desperate to pay off your student loan debt? There are some people out there who are probably a lot more desperate to unload their educational debt than you’ll ever be. This isn’t much of a surprise, considering there are about 44 million U.S. borrowers with $1.4 trillion in student loans. And the average student in the class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loans.
Some loan holders would do crazy things to unlock themselves from the shackles of student loan debt. According to research from Student Loan Report, here are 15 depressing things the average American would do to erase student loans.
1. Help a friend dispose of a dead body
Some people take the whole “best friends forever” thing a little too far. Roughly 23% of student loan borrowers surveyed said they would help their best friend dispose of a body if it meant their student loans would be forgiven. This very creepy admission just goes to show how desperate debtors are to get a clean financial slate. This desperation isn’t all that much of a surprise, however, considering total U.S. student loan debt has been outpacing credit card debt for the past couple of years.
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2. Be Trump’s personal butler
Another interesting move some borrowers would make is becoming President Donald Trump’s personal butler. Some are so eager to get rid of their loan balance that they would wait on The Donald hand and foot. That’s right — about 39% would make sure our leader is nice and comfy for the next four years if they could get their student loans discharged. Maybe they could discuss covfefe over tea.
3. Swim in shark-infested water for an hour
Not even blood-thirsty sharks could deter some borrowers. And we’re not talking about pitching a new business idea on Shark Tank. Roughly 19% said they would swim in shark-infested waters for one hour if that meant they could have their loans discharged. So, in this situation, college really could potentially cost borrowers an arm and a leg. Happy swimming.
4. Give up all Social Security benefits
Some borrowers would gladly give up future benefits, so they could unload their debt now. Approximately 21% of borrowers said they’d fork over all their Social Security benefits if they never had to see another student loan statement. If you look on the bright side, at least they wouldn’t have to worry anymore about the possibility of Social Security not being around when they retire because they’ve already forfeited their benefits.
5. Let the government have access to private information
Privacy concerns go out the window from some borrowers when times get tough. The survey also found 24% of borrowers would allow the government to be able to access all their devices and social media accounts. A Pew Research Center study also found Americans are generally willing to give up some of their privacy in exchange for something in return. This survey revealed Americans would allow access to personal information in exchange for discounts on auto insurance, store rewards, and lower energy bills.
6. Shorten their life by 3.11 years
What is life when you have crushing student loan debt? Apparently, some survey respondents think being debt-free is more precious than life itself. According to the results, the average borrower said they would be willing to shorten their life by 3.11 years to eliminate $15,550 of their student loan balance. Maybe they’ll use the money they’ve saved to buy a fancier casket.
7. Give up free health care for life
Without good health, it’s very difficult to enjoy life. However, some of the survey respondents would rather be sick and barely arriving at death’s door in exchange for the sweet taste of debt freedom. Roughly 30% of borrowers said they would rather have their student loan debt wiped out than have the opportunity to get free health care for life.
8. Work on the construction of Trump’s border wall for 1 year
Some borrowers will engage in hard labor for the chance to crush their debt mountain. Those struggling under the weight of student loans would jump at an opportunity to be on a team of workers organized to help build Trump’s wall. Nearly half of the survey respondents (46%) said they’d trade student loan debt for a gig working on the construction of Trump’s border wall for one year.
9. Give up Wi-Fi for the next 5 years
Most people can’t even last one hour without Wi-Fi, so you can just imagine the desperation of the respondents who would sacrifice their precious internet connection in the name of debt relief. Approximately 45% of borrowers said they would give up Wi-Fi for five years if that meant they could bail on debt. Perhaps they could read a book or talk to people instead.
10. Give up Netflix forever
Why push through a cranky crowd at your local movie theater when you can just go home and watch your favorite shows and movies on Netflix? This service provides a great way to stay entertained without spending a ton of money. However, some survey participants would go as far as giving up Netflix for the rest of their lives. Approximately 70% of student loan borrowers are willing to say goodbye to the streaming service if that meant they wouldn’t have to pay down their student loans.
11. Sacrifice their favorite sports team never winning a championship again
Not all sports fans are as loyal as they appear to be. Maybe the respondents in this study weren’t die-hard sports fans, but then again, it’s possible it was just the debt talking. Approximately 61% of borrowers would sacrifice their favorite sports team never winning a championship again if it meant the suspension of their student loan debt.
12. Live with the ‘cash me outside’ girl for 1 year
Some of the loan holders would also take on an argumentative roommate if it meant their debt would be wiped clean. Roughly 40% of borrowers would live with the “cash me outside” girl for one year in exchange for avoiding their debt. Danielle Bregoli earned the moniker after appearing on an episode of Dr. Phil, where she challenged one of the audience members to meet her outside for a fight.
13. Eat burnt toast for the next 3 years
There’s nothing like a plate of burnt toast to go along with your coffee in the morning. Some student loan borrowers would eat a not-so-tasty meal, so they could have their debt taken away. The survey revealed 46% of borrowers would only eat burnt toast for the next three years if that meant they wouldn’t have student loan debt anymore. Hopefully they’d be allowed to have a bit of butter and some jam to make that toast a bit more palatable.
14. Let the panda bear go extinct in 2017
Who doesn’t love pandas? They’re so cute that they could make just about anyone’s heart melt — anyone except for a borrower mired in student loan debt, that is. Approximately 19% of borrowers would let the panda bear go extinct in 2017 if it meant they would have no more student loan debt. It looks like the number of borrowers who would do something desperate to discharge debt dropped considerably when the topic turned to pandas, so not everyone is cold and heartless.
15. Serve in the military
The survey also asked participants whether they would be willing to serve in the military in exchange for student loan debt discharge. Roughly 49% of borrowers said they would serve in the military if it meant they would no longer have to deal with student loan debt.
If you or someone you know is in the military, there are programs available that could assist you with loan forgiveness. Those who have worked for the military or a qualifying public service job for the past 10 years could be eligible to have their federal student loans fully discharged under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Read more about it here.
Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo.