New York, NY (Top40 Charts / Ameritech Financial)
Popular music has long helped to define the set of anxieties young people are facing. The amount of space given to social issues in a generation's music can shed light on what is stressing out the young men and women who identify with those songs. With that in mind, it would seem that student loans are becoming a major source of angst, as a study of data collected from Spotify, Genius, and other online music sources show that the amount of references to "student loans" in music has dramatically increased since 2001. Ameritech Financial, a document preparation company that assists those with student loans apply for federal repayment plans, has witnessed the transition leading to a situation in which student loans are claiming an increasingly large space in the anxieties of a generation.
"The amount of stress that young people are feeling over their student loans seems to have definitely increased generationally," said Tom Knickerbocker, Executive Vice President of Ameritech Financial. "Young people today just have more of a burden of student debt than past generations have had," he continued.
The stats, collected by Medium.com for their Clarify Data Stories, indicate that Knickerbocker is correct. As the average student debt in America
has risen, so have references in music to "student loans" and "student debt." The study found 87 songs published since 1994 that reference these terms, with the majority of the most popular songs of the group having been released since 2014. Further demonstrating the increasing stress levels regarding student loans in popular music, a sentiment analysis tool determined that 56 of the 87 songs were negative in tone while only three songs were found to have a positive tone (the rest having been judged as neutral).
While 27 years ago Kurt Cobain of Nirvana
sang "here we are now, entertain us," giving that generation of young people a lyric emblematic of an anxiety caused by a perceived lack of diversity in popular culture, in 2015 the group Twenty One Pilots
sang "Out of student loans and treehouse homes, we all would take the latter," portraying a wish for simpler times devoid of debt and adult responsibilities. This may be wishful thinking, but the sentiment is profound for a generation saddled with student loan debt like no other generation in America
Knickerbocker suggests today's generation needs to do more than commiserate about their predicament, saying, "There are options for young people today that didn't exist for previous generations. Applying for an income-driven repayment plan might be the solution to all this stress they are feeling."
Income-driven repayment plans, or IDRs, allow a borrower to base their monthly payment on their income and family size. An IDR may help a young person alleviate the stress that has become part of their generation, allowing the former student to focus on personal enrichment, career development, or community activism. The music may tell a story of increasing stress over debt for an entire generation, but, according to Knickerbocker, an individual has the capability to use the tools provided by the Federal Government to move beyond this anxiety.
About Ameritech Financial
Ameritech Financial is a private company located in Rohnert Park, California. Ameritech Financial has already helped thousands of consumers with financial analysis and student loan document preparation to apply for federal student loan repayment programs offered through the Department of Education.
Each Ameritech Financial telephone representative has received the Certified Student Loan Professional certification through the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators (IAPDA).