Asset Building Financial Inclusion Working Paper

Youth Debt and College Graduation: Differences by Race/Ethnicity

This study examines the relationship between youth debt (from education loans and credit cards) and college graduation, considering the ways in which the relationship differs by race/ethnicity. Results show little evidence that student loans and credit card debt reduce the gaps between White and minority students in the likelihood of college graduation. Findings also indicate that the likelihood of graduating from college is higher among White and Black students with education loans of $10,000 or more than among those without education loans. However, among minority students (Black and Hispanic students), those with education loans of $10,000 or more are less likely to graduate than those with loans between $5,000 and $10,000. I discuss the policy implications of the findings.

Project: College Success


Zhan, M. (2013). Youth debt and college graduation: Differences by race/ethnicity (CSD Working Paper No. 13-08). St. Louis, MO: Washington University in St. Louis, Center for Social Development.