Hefty Loans Don’t Deter Students Bound For Graduate Study, Study Shows
Ann Arbor, Mich.Graduate students are paying the price for an education no matter the cost. A new study, led by University of Michigan education Professor Donald E. Heller, finds the amount a student has to borrow for a loan has little to no bearing on whether that student enrolls in graduate school.“Borrowing appears to have little impact on whether students attend graduate school,” says Heller. “Academic characteristics, in particular their degree expectations, choice of major and grade point average, are the most influential factors in predicting graduate school enrollment.”The study, “Debts and Decisions: Student Loans and Their Relationship to Graduate School and Career Choices,” was funded by the Lumina Foundation for Education. The findings are based on data from the U.S. Department of Education’s “Baccalaureate and Beyond” survey of approximately 11,000 students from the 1992-93 academic year.The study also found that 50 percent of all graduates borrowed just to finance their undergraduate schooling. The average loan after completing a four-year degree is about $10,000. For those students who go on to borrow for their graduate degrees, the average loan balance increases to about $25,000 to $57,000 for those who get a professional degree.Other findings from the study include: African American, Hispanic and American Indian students are more likely to borrow as undergraduates, along with students from lower-income families and those independent of their families or guardians. Students who attend proprietary (for-profit) schools and private nonprofit institutions are more likely to borrow than students who attend public institutions.
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