Understanding the Determinants of Debt Burden among College Graduates


This article examines debt burden among college graduates and contributes to previous research by incorporating institutional and state characteristics. Utilizing a combination of national datasets and zero-one inflated beta regression, we find several major themes. First, family income and college experiences are strongly associated with the probability of zero debt burden as well as the level of debt burden. Second, graduates from private institutions have a higher level of debt burden than graduates from a public institution. Lastly, state funding of merit-based aid programs play a role in reducing students’ debt burden, but the effect disappears when accounting for the “Georgia effect.” Conclusions and suggestions are made about the roles institutions and government can play in reducing debt burden among college graduates.