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Student Debt and Personal Portfolio Risk

50 Pages Posted: 9 May 2016  

Birzhan Batkeyev

Northeastern University

Karthik Krishnan

Northeastern University

Debarshi K. Nandy

Brandeis University - International Business School

Date Written: March 1, 2016


Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF), we find that student debt is negatively related to the extent of investment in risky financial assets by households. An exogenous shock to student debt due to the Higher Education Amendments of 1992 negatively impacts portfolio risk-taking for students already in four-year college at the time of this regulation. Households with significant student debt are more likely to fall behind on their student debt payments when they have significant personal financial portfolio risk. Our evidence also suggests that student debt reduces the frequency of trades by households. Further, the negative relation between student debt and personal portfolio risk-taking is stronger for more financially constrained households. Our evidence indicates that student debt may reduce investment in risky assets, thus affecting the long-term wealth of individuals, and may also have repercussions for the broader economy.

Keywords: Student debt, portfolio risk

JEL Classification: G30, I22

Suggested Citation

Batkeyev, Birzhan and Krishnan, Karthik and Nandy, Debarshi K., Student Debt and Personal Portfolio Risk (March 1, 2016). Northeastern U. D’Amore-McKim School of Business Research Paper No. 2777062. Available at SSRN: or

Birzhan Batkeyev

Northeastern University ( email )

Boston, MA 02115
United States

Karthik Krishnan (Contact Author)

Northeastern University ( email )

360 Huntington Avenue
414C Hayden Hall
Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-373-4707 (Phone)


Debarshi Nandy

Brandeis University - International Business School ( email )

Mailstop 32
Waltham, MA 02454-9110
United States

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