One in Two Millennials in New York are Working at Restaurants to Pay Off Student Debt

Not only have student loans become an atrocious and unavoidable problem that is "affecting the blood pressure" of people over 60 and leading senior citizens to have their Social Security pay garnished, but nearly one in two millennials in New York are now reportedly tending bar or waiting tables to help pay off their student loan debt, as well.

A new NY Post article says thousands of borrowers work as bartenders and waiters while they’re looking to pay down their debts and while they seek "more gainful employment" in their chosen field.

And of recent, many in the restaurant industry are fearing the elimination of NY state's "tip credit" which allows restaurants and bars to pay tipped employees less. Many restaurant employees believe that if this is eliminated, the size of gratuities could fall, further putting financial pressure on them. 

The article pointed out some stunning state and Federal figures:

  • New York state’s outstanding student debt now totals $90.6 billion.
  • 45 percent of adults 18 to 35 in New York state owe student loan debt.
  • 20 percent of New York state consumers have outstanding student debt.

Tezra Bryant, who works in hospitality in New York told the Post: “Many young people in New York who work in local bars and restaurants are paying off student loans and paying for college — and they don’t want to see the tip credit eliminated. They don’t want to see a decline in their incomes.”

Staff believes that the reduction in base pay continues to encourage diners to tip in the 20% range. Those that work in hospitality generally make about $25 per hour. Restaurant workers came together last week in Chinatown to make their voice heard and insist that Gov. Cuomo preserves the tip credit. Owners argue that margins are already too slim to absorb the tip credit elimination and that it would cause prices to move higher for the customers. 

Typical government: the workers don't want it, the owners don't want it - so it'll likely pass with flying colors and minimal red tape.

Bryant continued: “The tip credit needs to stay. Many millennials have student debt — and just can’t take a reduction in their incomes.”