Thomas A. Flint


This study investigates academic, social, attitudinal, and behavioral influences on student borrowing. Special attention is paid to the role of labor market data in predicting student borrowing behavior. A student sample was drawn from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study. Models were estimated on two outcome measures: willingness to borrow and levels of actual borrowing. Results indicate that substantial differences exist between dependent and independent students in their attitudes toward loans and debt levels. The acceptability of loans hinges largely on whether students perceive that there is any other alternative to reduce their college costs, which implies that loans are generally viewed as a financing mechanism of last resort. Debt levels are much more difficult to predict since the model used here explains only about 20% of the variance in total borrowed.