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ERIC Number: EJ1175108
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-May
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0361-0365
Costs on the Mind: the Influence of the Financial Burden of College on Academic Performance and Cognitive Functioning
Destin, Mesmin; Svoboda, Ryan C.
Research in Higher Education, v59 n3 p302-324 May 2018
The current studies test the hypothesis that the financial burden of college can initiate a psychological process that has a negative influence on academic performance for students at selective colleges and universities. Prior studies linking high college costs and student loans to academic outcomes have not been grounded within relevant social psychological theory regarding how and when the financial burden of college can influence students' psychological and cognitive processes. We test the hypothesis that the salient financial burden of college impairs students' cognitive functioning, especially when it creates an identity conflict or perceived barrier to reaching a student's desired financially successful future. First, we use longitudinal data from 28 selective colleges and universities to establish that students who accumulate student loan debt within these contexts are less likely to graduate from college because student loan debt predicts a decline in grades over time, even when controlling for factors related to socioeconomic status and prior achievement. Then, in an experiment, we advance research in this area with a direct, causal test of the proposed psychological process. An experimental manipulation that brings high college costs to mind impairs students' cognitive functioning, but only when those thoughts create an identity conflict or a perceived barrier to reaching a student's desired financially successful future.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A