The heavy burden of student loan debt is affecting more than just millions of pocketbooks nationwide.
According to a Gallup poll released Aug. 7, high student debt is also linked to poor health. According to the poll, having student loan debt will likely impact the ranking of physical well-being negatively by 10 percentage points. According to Gallup, those with $50,000 or more in student debt are “less likely to have a strong sense of purpose and to be thriving in their community well-being.”
Such scary scenarios have led many worried millennials to seek out new ways to unload some of the burden. You've probably heard of “hashtag activism,” but have you heard of “hashtag freeloading?”
In the wake of the über-viral #icebucketchallenge — where everyone from Oprah Winfrey to that kid you haven't spoken to since high school dump a bucket (or bowl, or pitcher, or sometimes even just a cup) of ice water on their head, and then challenge a few more friends to do the same, or else pay $100 to the ALS Association — frustrated college graduates have adpoted a similar tactic to pay off college loans.
[tweet: The #paymystudentloans challenge. I nominate @bill gates….]
The campaign to enlist others to pay off student loan debt has a few major difference from the Ice Bucket Challenge, most notably that the challenger doesn't have to do anything (besides go to college and accrue massive amounts of student loan debt).
Another major difference seems to be that only the notably wealthy are called out. There's no asking a best friend from across the country to burden his or herself with such a challenge, only the rich and famous need apply.
[Slew of tweets calling out famous people]
Of course, while the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised upwards of $40 million, no one seems to take #paymystudentloans seriously.
[Tweet: IF only the #payMyStudentLoans challenge was real! Ha]
JJ Feinauer is a Web producer for Moneywise and Opinion on DeseretNews.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: jjfeinauer.