IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/ecoedu/v71y2019icp32-48.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The US college loans system: Lessons from Australia and England

Author

Listed:
  • Barr, Nicholas
  • Chapman, Bruce
  • Dearden, Lorraine
  • Dynarski, Susan

Abstract

There is wide agreement that the US student loan system faces significant problems. Seven million borrowers are in default and many more are not repaying for reasons such as returning to school, or economic hardship. The stress of repayments faced by many students results at least in part from the design of US student loans. Specifically, loans are organised like a mortgage, with fixed monthly repayments over a fixed period of time, creating a high repayment burden on borrowers with low income. This paper draws on the experience of the income-contingent loan (ICL) systems operating in England and Australia, in which monthly or two-weekly repayments are related to the borrower's income in that period, thus building in automatic insurance against inability to repay during periods of low income. We discuss the design of this type of loan in detail since such an exercise seems to be largely absent in the US literature. Drawing on data from the US Current Population Survey (CPS) we provide two main empirical contributions: a stylised illustration of the revenue and distributional implications of different hypothetical ICL arrangements for the USA; and an illustration of repayment problems faced by low-earning borrowers in the US loan system, including a plausible example of adverse outcomes with respect to Stafford loans. Importantly, we compare repayment burdens under the existing and alternative systems. Our illustrations show how US mortgage-type loans can create financial difficulties for a significant minority of US borrowers, difficulties which an ICL is designed to address. We note also that the current small and ineffective income-based repayment system in the US has few of the characteristics of an ideal ICL.

Suggested Citation

  • Barr, Nicholas & Chapman, Bruce & Dearden, Lorraine & Dynarski, Susan, 2019. "The US college loans system: Lessons from Australia and England," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 32-48.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:71:y:2019:i:c:p:32-48
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econedurev.2018.07.007
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272775718301778
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hamish Low & Costas Meghir & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "Wage Risk and Employment Risk over the Life Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1432-1467, September.
    2. Britton, Jack & van der Erve, Laura & Higgins, Tim, 2019. "Income contingent student loan design: Lessons from around the world," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 65-82.
    3. Dearden, Lorraine, 2019. "Evaluating and designing student loan systems: An overview of empirical approaches," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 49-64.
    4. Looney, Adam & Yannelis, Constantine, 2019. "How useful are default rates? Borrowers with large balances and student loan repayment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 135-145.
    5. Bruce Chapman & Andrew Leigh, 2009. "Do Very High Tax Rates Induce Bunching? Implications for the Design of Income Contingent Loan Schemes," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 85(270), pages 276-289, September.
    6. Kodde, David A. & Ritzen, Josef M.M., 1985. "The demand for education under capital market imperfections," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 347-362, August.
    7. Haroon Chowdry & Lorraine Dearden & Alissa Goodman & Wenchao Jin, 2012. "The Distributional Impact of the 2012–13 Higher Education Funding Reforms in England," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 33(2), pages 211-235, June.
    8. Milton Friedman & Simon Kuznets, 1945. "Income from Independent Professional Practice," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie54-1.
    9. Nerlove, Marc L, 1975. "Some Problems in the Use of Income-contingent Loans for the Finance of Higher Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 157-183, February.
    10. Nicholas Barr, 2017. "Funding post-compulsory education," Chapters, in: Geraint Johnes & Jill Johnes & Tommaso Agasisti & Laura López-Torres (ed.), Handbook of Contemporary Education Economics, chapter 16, pages 357-380, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Lergetporer, Philipp & Woessmann, Ludger, 2019. "The Political Economy of Higher Education Finance: How Information and Design Affect Public Preferences for Tuition," Rationality and Competition Discussion Paper Series 145, CRC TRR 190 Rationality and Competition.
    2. Dearden, Lorraine & Nascimento, Paulo Meyer, 2019. "Modelling alternative student loan schemes for Brazil," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 83-94.
    3. Britton, Jack & van der Erve, Laura & Higgins, Tim, 2019. "Income contingent student loan design: Lessons from around the world," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 65-82.
    4. Campbell, Stuart & Macmillan, Lindsey & Murphy, Richard & Wyness, Gill, 2019. "Inequalities in student to course match: evidence from linked administrative data," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 103413, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Cai, Yu & Chapman, Bruce & Wang, Qing, 2019. "Repayment burdens of mortgage-style student loans in China and steps toward income-contingent loans," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 95-108.
    6. Armstrong, Shiro & Dearden, Lorraine & Kobayashi, Masayuki & Nagase, Nobuko, 2019. "Student loans in Japan: Current problems and possible solutions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 120-134.
    7. Oreopoulos, Philip, 2019. "What Limits College Success? A Review and Further Analysis of Holzer and Baum's 'Making College Work'," IZA Policy Papers 150, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Dearden, Lorraine, 2019. "Evaluating and designing student loan systems: An overview of empirical approaches," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 49-64.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Income-contingent loans; Mortgage-type loans; Student loan design; Loan defaults;

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:71:y:2019:i:c:p:32-48. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.