More than one in five college students have used their financial loans to invest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, according to a recent survey conducted by the Student Loan Report.
The survey asked 1,000 current college students with student loan debt about how they used the financial aid money they received and found that 21.2 percent of students have invested their loans in the cryptocurrency market.
Investing in cryptocurrencies with school loans is possible because many students are allowed to take out funds that exceed the cost of tuition. That money is intended to cover additional expenses for classes like books or living expenses like room and board or a meal plan.
However, there is no enforcement method to ensure that money is spent in a way that is related to furthering the student’s education. Any excess money borrowed beyond the cost of tuition is handed to the student and be used however they see fit, including, at least for a portion of students, to invest in cryptocurrencies.
The decision to put the excess funds from student loans into cryptocurrency is perhaps not surprising. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin saw massive gains in value over the course of 2017 and the demographic interested in the digital currencies already skews young. A recent survey from SurveyMonkey and Global Blockchain Business Council found that 58 percent of Bitcoin investors are between the ages of 18 and 34.
Online communities like Reddit are often packed with comments from students who discuss investing in cryptocurrencies. One user claimed to have taken out $10,000 worth of loans in order to purchase a variety of popular tokens.
Many of the investors who consider this route seem to be under the impression they can make enough off the cryptocurrency market to pay off the loans in full by the time they are done with school.
Bitcoin has lost nearly 60 percent of its value since reaching its peak of $19,770 in December 2017. Much of the cryptocurrency market has trended downward since the start of 2018 and has struggled to recover much of its losses.