IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Financing Higher Education with Students Loans - The crucial role of income-contingency and risk pooling



    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))

  • Olivier, DEBANDE

    (European Investment Bank, Luxembourg)


There are many economic and philosophical arguments supporting the introduction of student loans as a way to complement public financing and secure adequate resources for higher education, particularly in Europe. These arguments are briefly reviewed in this paper. But the case in favour of student loans largely rests on the capability to provide loans that are income-contingent. Indeed, income-contingent repayments are critical to both efficiendy (students and lenders should not be deterred due to excessive risk) and equity (contributions should be tailored to ex post ability to pay). But income-contingency comes at a cost that can be expressed as a risk premium that should be supported and shared between graduates and/or taxpayers. The central aim of this paper is to produce realistic estiamtes of such a risk, identifying the conditions for the implementation of an income-contingent loan scheme in order to channel additional private funding to higher education systems. How does low lifetime income and/or unemployment spells among higher education graduates translates into risk premia ? Results, derived from the analysis of Belgian earnings data, suggest that the risk premium ranges from 13% for university (ISCED 6-7) graduates to 26% for non-university (ISCED 5) ones. The paper further investigates the various ways of pooling and shifting this risk, while addressing the danger of public debt classification (ie, student loans classified as public) and adverse selection (ie, unsustainable pooling of high and low risk loans).

Suggested Citation

  • Vincent, VANDENBERGHE & Olivier, DEBANDE, 2004. "Financing Higher Education with Students Loans - The crucial role of income-contingency and risk pooling," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2004036, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  • Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2004036

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Kremer, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-575.
    2. Salvatore Barbaro, 2002. "The Distributional Impact of Subsidies to Higher Education - Empirical Evidence from Germany," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 59(4), pages 458-458, December.
    3. Bas Jacobs, 2002. "An investigation of education finance reform; graduate taxes and income contingent loans in the Netherlands," CPB Discussion Paper 9, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Higher Education Finance; Income-contingent Loans; Risk premium; Risk poolong;

    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:ctl:louvir:2004036. 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: (Virginie LEBLANC). General contact details of provider: .

    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.