The Voices of Student Borrowers
The challenge of rising student loan debt has received a great deal of attention but too little is known about the impact on broader financial health. Moreover, there is little discussion of how this impact is different for different students.
With funding support from MetLife Foundation, the UNC Center for Community Capital (CCC) conducted interviews with individuals who used student loans to pay for some portion of their higher education. The purpose was to gain a deeper and more nuanced understanding of how individuals from a variety of backgrounds make decisions about how to finance their education, how they negotiate the landscape of student loan debt and repayment, and the impact on future financial decisions.
This research provides perspectives and new insights that are useful in both understanding the barriers that students face as well as how those can be addressed through public and institutional policies and programs. Ideally, this information will be used by institutions providing post-secondary education, by high schools preparing their students to pursue post-secondary education, and by policymakers and others working to reduce the burden of student loan debt.
This work builds on previous research in collaboration with UnidosUS, which explores the issue of student loan debt for Latino students in the U.S. It also draws on work funded by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund which explored interest in financial management among college students at HBCUs in North Carolina.