NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Importance of Financial Resources for Student Loan Repayment

Lance Lochner, Todd Stinebrickner, Utku Suleymanoglu

NBER Working Paper No. 19716
Issued in December 2013
NBER Program(s):   ED   LS

Government student loan programs must balance the need to enforce repayment among borrowers who can afford to make their payments with some form of forgiveness or repayment assistance for those who cannot. Using unique survey and administrative data from the Canada Student Loan Program, we show that nearly all recent borrowers with annual incomes above $40,000 make their standard loan payments while repayment problems are common among borrowers earning less than $20,000. Still, over half of all low-income borrowers manage to make timely payments. We demonstrate that other financial resources in the form of savings and family support are key to understanding this - repayment problems are rare among low-earners with access to savings and family support. This has important policy implications, in part, because many recent proposals have advocated for a move to an income-based repayment system. Under such a system, many low-income borrowers in good-standing (due primarily to savings and family support) would pay less, while little new revenue would likely be generated from inducing payment among those that are currently delinquent or in default since their income levels are so low. Specifically, we show that expanding Canada's income-based Repayment Assistance Plan to automatically cover all borrowers could reduce revenue by nearly one-half over the first few years of repayment. Although a sizeable group of recent borrowers would benefit from improved repayment assistance, our results suggest caution before broadly expanding assistance to all low-income borrowers, many of whom already benefit from informal insurance provided by savings and their families.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19716

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Rothstein and Rouse w13117 Constrained After College: Student Loans and Early Career Occupational Choices
Bordo and Landon-Lane w19584 What Explains House Price Booms?: History and Empirical Evidence.
Lochner and Monge-Naranjo w19882 Default and Repayment Among Baccalaureate Degree Earners
Back, Li, and Ljungqvist w19669 Liquidity and Governance
Araujo, Schommer, and Woodford w19711 Conventional and Unconventional Monetary Policy with Endogenous Collateral Constraints
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us