Asset Building Financial Inclusion Working Paper

Does Outstanding Student Debt Reduce Asset Accumulation?

In this study, the authors use the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) to assess whether student loan debt is associated with total assets. They find that median 2009 assets for households with no outstanding student loan debt ($207,000) are higher than they are for households with outstanding student loan debt ($174,000). Multivariate statistics indicate that a household with a four-year college graduate, outstanding student loan debt, and median assets ($451,520) in 2007 had $136,73 (36%) less home equity in 2009 than a household with a similar household with no outstanding student loan debt. The main policy implication of this study is that outstanding student debt may reduce asset accumulation in the short term, which suggests an important rationale for exploring alternative financial aid structures.

Project: College Success 


Elliott, W., III, Grinstein-Weiss, M., & Nam, I. (2013). Does outstanding student debt reduce asset accumulation? (CSD Working Paper No. 13-32). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.