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What Americans (Don’t) Know about Student Loan Collections

Zachary Bleemer, Meta Brown, Wilbert van der Klaauw () and Basit Zafar

No 20140605, Liberty Street Economics from Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Abstract: U.S. student debt has more than tripled since 2004, and at over $1 trillion is now substantially greater than both credit card and auto debt balances. There are substantial potential benefits to be gained from taking out a student loan to fund a college education, including higher earnings and lower unemployment rates for college grads. However, there are significant costs to having student debt: The loans frequently carry relatively high interest rates, delinquency is common and costly (involving potential late fees and collection fees), and the federal government has the power to garnish the wages of individuals with delinquent federally guaranteed student loans (in fact, reported federal recovery rates on defaulted direct student loans exceed 70 percent). The ability of U.S. households to make well-informed decisions regarding higher education and student loan take-up for themselves (or members of their households) depends on the extent to which they accurately perceive the costs and benefits of such choices. To what extent does the American public understand the implications of student loan indebtedness? To shed light on this question, we went out and surveyed U.S. households.

Keywords: information; Student loans; defaults (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D1 J00 Q1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-06-05
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