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Providers Household Pulse Survey: October 2023

The following insights come from a <10-minute multiple choice and open response survey conducted by Providers to a random sample of 3,213 of over 5M Providers users from October 1 - October 14, 2023. All respondents are EBT cardholders.

Providers Household Pulse Survey: October 2023

During the three-year pause on federal student loan payments, Providers users weren’t forced to choose between buying daily necessities, supporting their loved ones, and paying off student debt. Now, many are bracing amid uncertainty to cut back on food and work more hours to make ends meet. 

  • 61% of surveyed users are “very” or “extremely” stressed that student loan repayments restarted in October. 59% don’t know when their next payments are due. 

  • One-quarter of surveyed borrowers say they will have to spend less on necessities like groceries and rent to afford their monthly student loan payments. 

  • 24% say they will have to take on additional work to have sufficient income to meet their payment obligations. 

  • 51% plan on applying for an income-driven repayment plan to lower their monthly payments. 

  • While payments were paused during the pandemic, over 50% of surveyed borrowers said they were able to pay for necessities without struggling and 24% were able to care for family and friends. 

“At this time, I see no way of affording my monthly student loan payments.” - Angela, LA


Surveyed student loan borrowers are more likely to be struggling with late and unpaid household bills.

  • In October, respondents owing student loans were 28% more likely to have paid their rent late, 32% more likely to owe unpaid rent, 30% more likely to have paid their utilities late, and 25% more likely to owe unpaid utility bills compared to all surveyed households.

  • 10% of surveyed borrowers say they will have to look for more affordable housing now that payments have resumed and 8% say they will have to move in with family or friends to save money. 

  • Nearly 50% of surveyed borrowers are also carrying utility debt. 

“I have to make a daily decision to either feed my kids or pay my bills.” - Kristen, GA


Among surveyed SNAP households, student loan borrowers are also disproportionately experiencing food insecurity across all indicators. 

  • 42% of surveyed student loan borrowers skipped meals last month, compared to 38% of all surveyed households. 

  • 59% of surveyed student loan borrowers ate less last month, compared to 54% of all surveyed households. 

  • 39% of surveyed student loan borrowers relied on family and friends for their meals and groceries last month, compared to 33% of all surveyed households. 

“As my benefits decreased, I’ve had to ask family and friends for help with food for me and my two children. I’m at the point where I’m asking for food just for them and I’ll go without eating for a few days. Food prices are at an all-time high.” - Providers user, PA

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