Understanding the determinants of debt burden among college graduates

Rong Chen, Mark Wiederspan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This article examines debt burden among college graduates and contributes to previous research by incorporating institutional and state characteristics. Utilizing a combination of national datasets and zero-one inflated beta regression, we find several major themes. First, family income and college experiences are strongly associated with the probability of zero debt burden as well as the level of debt burden. Second, graduates from private institutions have a higher level of debt burden than graduates from a public institution. Lastly, state funding of merit-based aid programs play a role in reducing students' debt burden, but the effect disappears when accounting for the "Georgia effect." Conclusions and suggestions are made about the roles institutions and government can play in reducing debt burden among college graduates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-598
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Higher Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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