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Default Risk and Private Student Loans: Implications for Higher Education Policies

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  • Ionescu, Felicia

    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.))

  • Simpson, Nicole B.

    () (Colgate University)

Abstract

The private market for student loans has become an important source of college financing in the United States. Unlike government student loans, the terms on student loans in the private market are based on credit status. We quantify the importance of the private market for student loans and of credit status for college investment in a general equilibrium heterogeneous life-cycle economy. We find that students with good credit status invest in more college education (compared to those with bad credit status) and that this effect is more pronounced for low-income students. Furthermore, results suggest that the relationship between credit status and college investment has important policy implications. Specifically, when borrowing limits in the government student loan program are relaxed (as implemented in 2008), college investment increases, but so does the riskiness of the pool of borrowers, leading to higher default rates in the private market for student loans. When general equilibrium effects are accounted for, the welfare gains experienced from a more generous government student loan program are negated. This compares to budget-neutral tuition subsidies that increase college investment and welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Ionescu, Felicia & Simpson, Nicole B., 2014. "Default Risk and Private Student Loans: Implications for Higher Education Policies," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2014-66, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised 29 Jan 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2014-66
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Brant Abbott & Giovanni Gallipoli & Costas Meghir & Giovanni L. Violante, 2013. "Education Policy and Intergenerational Transfers in Equilibrium," Working Paper series 15_13, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    2. Judith M. Delaney & Paul J. Devereux, 2017. "More Education, Less Volatility? The Effect of Education on Earnings Volatility over the Life Cycle," Working Papers 201723, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    3. Krueger, Dirk & Ludwig, Alexander, 2013. "On the Optimal Provision of Social Insurance," MEA discussion paper series 201302, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    College investment; credit status; student loans; default;

    JEL classification:

    • D53 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Financial Markets
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy

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