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

  • Satyajit Chatterjee
  • Felicia Ionescu

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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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 12-15.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:12-15
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  1. David Andolfatto & Martin Gervais, 2004. "Human Capital Investment and Debt Constraints," Labor and Demography 0412006, EconWPA.
  2. Carlos Garriga & Mark P. Keightley, 2013. "A General Equilibrium Theory of College with Education Subsidies, In-School Labor Supply, and Borrowing Constraints," Working Papers 2013-002, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  3. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2007. "Insurance and Opportunities: A Welfare Analysis of Labor Market Risk," NBER Working Papers 13673, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Arcidiacono, Peter, 2002. "Ability Sorting and the Returns to College Major," Working Papers 02-26, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  5. Akyol, Ahmet & Athreya, Kartik B., 2003. "Risky higher education and subsidies," Working Paper 03-02, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  6. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Krishna B. Kumar, 2000. "Higher Education Subsidies and Heterogeneity, A Dynamic Analysis," RCER Working Papers 472, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  7. Gianluca Violante & Giovanni Gallipoli & Costas Meghir, 2005. "Education Decisions, Equilibrium Policies and Wages Dispersion," 2005 Meeting Papers 522, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2010. "Why Have College Completion Rates Declined? An Analysis of Changing Student Preparation and Collegiate Resources," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 129-57, July.
  9. Diego Restuccia & Carlos Urrutia, 2002. "Intergenerational Persistence of Earnings: The Role of Early and College Education," Working Papers diegor-02-03, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
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