The impact of youth debt on college graduation

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This study examines the associations between educational loans and credit card debt with the possibility of college graduation among a group of youth who enrolled in college. It further investigates whether the associations differ by levels of parental assets. Results indicate that, after parental assets and other variables are considered, educational loans are positively related to college graduation; however, there is evidence that educational loans above $10,000 reduce the probability of college graduation. Parental assets are positively linked to youth’s college graduation, and the relationship between educational loans and college graduation is stronger among youth whose families have lower levels of financial assets. Credit card debt is positively related to college graduation only among families with modest financial assets. Policy implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8
Pages (from-to)132-156
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Sociology and Social Welfare
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • College graduation
  • Credit card debt
  • Educational loans
  • Household assets
  • Net worth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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