Who is More Likely to Default on Student Loans?
This post seeks to understand how educational characteristics (school type and selectivity, graduation status, major) and family background relate to the incidence of student loan default. Student indebtedness has grown substantially, increasing by 170 percent between 2006 and 2016. In addition, the fraction of students who default on those loans has grown considerably. Of students who left college in 2010 and 2011, 28 percent defaulted on their student loans within five years, compared with 19 percent of those who left school in 2005 and 2006. Since defaulting on student loans can have ...
Are Student Loan Defaults Cyclical? It Depends
This post is the second in a two-part series on student loan default behavior. In the first post, we studied how educational characteristics (school type and selectivity, graduation, and major) and family background relate to the incidence of student loan default. In this post, we investigate whether default behavior has varied across cohorts of borrowers as the labor market evolved over time. Specifically, does the ability of student loan holders to repay their loans vary with the state of the labor market? Does the type of education these students received make any difference to this ...
Who Borrows for College—and Who Repays?
Student loans are increasingly a focus of discourse among politicians, policymakers, and the news media, resulting in a range of new ideas to address the swelling aggregate debt. Evaluating student loan policy proposals requires understanding the challenges faced by student borrowers. In this post, we explore the substantial variation in the experiences of borrowers and consider the distributional effects of various policy options.
Tuition, jobs, or housing: what's keeping millennials at home?
This paper documents marked changes in young Americans? residence choices over the past fifteen years, with recent cohorts delaying homeownership and lingering much longer in parents? households. To understand the sources and implications of this decline in independence, we estimate the contributions of local economic circumstances to the decision to live with parents or independently. Transition models, local aggregates, and state-cohort tuition patterns are used to address the likely presence of individual- and neighborhood-level unobserved heterogeneity. Employment and housing market ...
Echoes of rising tuition in students’ borrowing, educational attainment, and homeownership in post-recession America
State average enrollment-weighted public college tuition and fees per school year rose by $3,843 (or 81 percent) between 2001 and 2009. How are recent cohorts absorbing this surge in college costs, and what effect is it having on their post-schooling consumption? Our analysis of tuition, educational attainment, and debt patterns for nine youth cohorts across all fifty states indicates that the tuition hike accounted for $1,628, or about 30 percent, of the increase in average student debt per capita among 24-year-olds between 2003 and 2011. However, estimates indicate no meaningful response to ...
The Consequences of Student Loan Credit Expansions: Evidence from Three Decades of Default Cycles
This paper studies the link between credit availability and student loan repayment using administrative federal student loan data. We demonstrate that expansions and contractions in federal student loan credit to institutions with high default rates explain most of the time series variation in student loan defaults between 1980 and 2010. Expansions in loan eligibility between 1976 and 1988 led to the entry of new, high-risk institutions, and default rates exceeding 30 percent in the late 1980s. Credit access was subsequently tightened through strict institutional and student accountability ...
Strategic Default Among Private Student Loan Debtors: Evidence from Bankruptcy Reform
Bankruptcy reform in 2005 restricted debtors? ability to discharge private student loan debt. The reform was motivated by the perceived incentive of some borrowers to file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 even if they had, or expected to have, sufficient income to service their debt. Using a national sample of credit bureau files, we examine whether private student loan borrowers distinctly adjusted their Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing behavior in response to the reform. We do not find evidence to indicate that the moral hazard associated with dischargeability appreciably affected the behavior of ...
WHERE DO STUDENTS GO WHEN FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES LOSE FEDERAL AID?
Recent federal investigations and new regulations have resulted in restrictions on for-profit institutions? access to federal student aid. We examine the enrollment effects of similar restrictions imposed on over 1,200 for-profit colleges in the 1990s. Using variation in regulations linked to student loan default rates, we estimate the impact of the loss of federal aid on the enrollment of Pell Grant recipients in sanctioned institutions and their local competitors. Enrollment in a sanctioned for-profit college declines by 53 percent in the five years following a sanction. For-profit ...
The Interplay Between Student Loans and Credit Card Debt: Implications for Default in the Great Recession
We analyze the interactions between two different forms of unsecured credit and their implications for default behavior of young U.S. households. One type of credit mimics credit cards in the United States and the default option resembles a bankruptcy filing under Chapter 7; the other type of credit mimics student loans in the United States and the default option resembles Chapter 13. In the credit card market a financial intermediary offers a menu of interest rates based on individual default risk, which account for borrowing and repayment behavior in both markets. In the student loan ...
Does Salient Financial Information Affect Academic Performance and Borrowing Behavior among College Students?
While rising student loan debt can plague college students future finances, few federal programs have been instituted to educate college students on the mechanics of student loan borrowing. This paper exploits a natural experiment in which some students received "Know Your Debt" letters with incentivized offers for one-on-one financial counseling. Montana State University students who reached a specific debt threshold received these letters; University of Montana students did not. We use a difference-in-difference-in-differences strategy to compare students above and below the thresholds ...