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Insuring student loans against the financial risk of failing to complete college

Author

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  • Satyajit Chatterjee
  • Felicia Ionescu

Abstract

Participants in student loan programs must repay loans in full regardless of whether they complete college. But many students who take out a loan do not earn a degree (the dropout rate among college students is between 33 to 50 percent). We examine whether insurance, in the form of loan forgiveness in the event of failure to complete college, can be offered, taking into account moral hazard and adverse selection. To do so, we develop a model that accounts for college enrollment and graduation rates among recent US high school graduates. In our model students may fail to earn a degree because they either fail college or choose to leave voluntarily. We find that if loan forgiveness is offered only when a student fails college, average welfare increases by 2.40 percent (in consumption equivalent units) without much effect on either enrollment or graduation rates. If loan forgiveness is offered against both failure and voluntarily departure, welfare increases by 2.15 percent and both enrollment and graduation are higher.
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Suggested Citation

  • Satyajit Chatterjee & Felicia Ionescu, 2012. "Insuring student loans against the financial risk of failing to complete college," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 3(3), pages 393-420, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:quante:v:3:y:2012:i:3:p:393-420
    DOI: QE100
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Akyol, Ahmet & Athreya, Kartik, 2005. "Risky higher education and subsidies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 979-1023, June.
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    9. Heathcote, Jonathan & Storesletten, Kjetil & Violante, Giovanni L., 2008. "Insurance and opportunities: A welfare analysis of labor market risk," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 501-525, April.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dominik Sachs & Sebastian Findeisen, 2016. "Optimal Financial Aid Policies for Students," 2016 Meeting Papers 1421, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Salvador Navarro & Jin Zhou, 2017. "Identifying Agent's Information Sets: an Application to a Lifecycle Model of Schooling, Consumption, and Labor Supply," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 25, pages 58-92, April.
    3. Ionescu, Felicia & Simpson, Nicole, 2016. "Default risk and private student loans: Implications for higher education policies," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 119-147.
    4. Lochner, Lance & Monge-Naranjo, Alexander, 2014. "Student Loans and Repayment: Theory, Evidence and Policy," Working Papers 2014-40, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 12 Nov 2014.
    5. Lutz Hendricks & Oksana Leukhina, 2017. "How Risky is College Investment?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 140-163, October.
    6. Robert J. Gary-Bobo & Alain Trannoy, 2015. "Optimal student loans and graduate tax under moral hazard and adverse selection," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(3), pages 546-576, September.
    7. Matthew T. Johnson, 2013. "Borrowing Constraints, College Enrollment, and Delayed Entry," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(4), pages 669-725.
    8. Lutz Hendricks & Oksana Leukhina, 2017. "How Risky is College Investment?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 26, pages 140-163, October.
    9. Rauh, Christopher, 2017. "Voting, education, and the Great Gatsby Curve," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 1-14.
    10. Hendricks, Lutz & Leukhina, Oksana, 2014. "The return to college: Selection and dropout risk," CFS Working Paper Series 487, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    11. Tomás Rau & Eugenio Rojas & Sergio Urzúa, 2013. "Loans for Higher Education: Does the Dream Come True?," NBER Working Papers 19138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Darolia, Rajeev & Ritter, Dubravka, 2017. "Strategic Default Among Private Student Loan Debtors: Evidence from Bankruptcy Reform," Working Papers 17-38, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    13. Aaron Hedlund & Grey Gordon, 2017. "Accounting for Tuition Increases at U.S. Colleges," 2017 Meeting Papers 1550, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Darolia, Rajeev & Ritter, Dubravka, 2015. "Do student loan borrowers opportunistically default? Evidence from bankruptcy reform," Working Papers 15-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, revised 30 Sep 2015.

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