ERIC Number: EJ1020618
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jan
Abstractor: As Provided
Disparities in Debt: Parents' Socioeconomic Resources and Young Adult Student Loan Debt
Houle, Jason N.
Sociology of Education, v87 n1 p53-69 Jan 2014
In an era of rising college costs and stagnant grant-based student aid, many young adults rely on their parents' resources and student loans to pay for their postsecondary education. In this study I ask how parents' income and education are linked to young adults' student loan debt. I develop and test two perspectives regarding the functional form of the association between parents' income, parents' education, and student loan debt. I have four key findings. First, the relationship between parents' income and student loan debt is nonlinear, such that young adults from middle-income families have a higher risk for debt than do those from low- and high-income families. Second, young adults from college-educated and high-income families are relatively protected from debt. Third, the association between parents' socioeconomic status (SES) and debt is modified by postsecondary institutional characteristics and is strongest at private and high-cost institutions. Finally, the effect of parents' SES on debt varies across the debt distribution. Parents' SES is strongly predictive of entry into debt, but there are few differences conditional on going into debt. This suggests that socioeconomic disparities in debt are primarily driven by the probability of going into debt rather than differences among debtors. However, compared to their more advantaged counterparts, young adults from low-SES backgrounds have a higher risk of accruing debt burdens that exceed the national average.
Descriptors: Young Adults, Student Loan Programs, Debt (Financial), Family Income, Socioeconomic Status, Postsecondary Education, Risk, Longitudinal Studies, Educational Attainment, Least Squares Statistics, Institutional Characteristics, Family Characteristics, Predictor Variables, Regression (Statistics)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A