Measuring student debt and its performance
Studies continue to indicate that higher education is frequently a worthwhile investment for individuals and that it raises the productivity of the workforce as a whole. While the rising cost of post-secondary education has not eliminated this "college premium," it has raised new questions about how growing numbers of students can make these investments. One solution to this problem is student loans, which have come to play an increasingly important role in financing higher education. Yet, despite its importance, educational debt is not well understood. Among the reasons is that there ...
On Intergenerational Immobility : Evidence that Adult Credit Health Reflects the Childhood Environment
Using a novel dataset that links socioeconomic background to future credit, postsecondary education, and federal student loan and grant records, we document that, even though it is not and cannot be used by credit agencies in assigning risk, background is a strong predictor of adult credit health. A relationship remains upon inclusion of achievement, attainment, and debt management metrics. These findings reveal a new dimension along which childhood circumstances persist into adulthood and imply that the many important contexts in which credit scores are relied upon to evaluate individuals ...
On the record: Texas students often lack skills, financial knowledge for college success
Jeff Webster is assistant vice president for research and analytical services for TG (Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corp.), a nonprofit that promotes educational access and administers the Federal Family Education Loan Program. He has studied student loan default, debt burden and student retention.
Do student loan borrowers opportunistically default? Evidence from bankruptcy reform
Bankruptcy reform in 2005 eliminated debtors? ability to discharge private student loan debt in bankruptcy. This law aimed to reduce costly defaults by diminishing the perceived incentive of some private student loan borrowers to declare bankruptcy even if they had sufficient income to service their debt. Using a unique, nationally representative sample of anonymized credit bureau files, we examine the bankruptcy filing and delinquency rates of private student loan borrowers in response to the 2005 bankruptcy reform. We do not find evidence that the nondischargeability provision reduced the ...
Modern Income-Share Agreements in Postsecondary Education: Features, Theory, Applications
An income-share agreement (ISA) in postsecondary education is a contract in which students pledge to pay a certain percentage of their future incomes over a set period of time in exchange for funding educational program expenses in the present. Typically, participants begin to make payments once their incomes rise above a minimum threshold set by the terms of the ISA and will never pay more than a set cap (usually, a multiple of the original amount). Funding for ISAs can range from university sources to philanthropic funding and private investor capital. In this study, we describe the many ...
Estimating the Cost Function of Connecticut Public K–12 Education: Implications for Inequity and Inadequacy in School Spending
Facing legal challenges and public pressures, Connecticut needs an objective and rigorous study of its public education costs. This study is the first to estimate the cost function of Connecticut public K–12 education and to evaluate the equity and the adequacy in the state’s school spending based on regression-estimated education costs. It finds large disparities across districts in education costs and cost-adjusted spending. Districts with the largest enrollments, the highestschool-age-child-poverty rates, or the least amount of property wealth, on average, have the highest costs and ...
Why have revenue-strapped New England school districts been slow to turn to alternative funding sources?
During and even after the Great Recession, numerous popular press stories commented on the apparent growth of non-tax revenues in the face of school district budget deficits. But Downes and Killeen (2014) show that nationally the growth of non-traditional revenues has been far less than these articles may lead the reader to believe. This paper uses data from the New England states to assess the empirical content of some of the possible explanations of this slow growth. In New England, as in the rest of the nation, non-tax revenues per pupil have grown in real terms but have not become a more ...
An Experiment on Information Use in College Student Loan Decisions
There is ample concern that college students are making ill-informed student loan decisions with potentially negative consequences to themselves and the broader economy. This paper reports the results of a randomized field experiment in which college students are provided salient information about their borrowing choices. The setting is a large flagship public university in the Midwest, and the sample includes all nongraduating students who previously borrowed student loan money (~10,000 students). Half of the students received individually tailored letters with simplified information about ...
College Tuition and Income Inequality
This paper evaluates the role of rising income inequality in explaining observed growth in college tuition. We develop a competitive model of the college market in which college quality depends on instructional expenditure and the average ability of admitted students. An innovative feature of our model is that it allows for a continuous distribution of college quality. We find that observed increases in US income inequality can explain more than the entire observed rise in average net tuition since 1990 and that rising income inequality has also depressed college attendance.
Opening remarks at the Convening on Student Loan Data Conference
Remarks at the Convening on Student Loan Data Conference, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, New York City.