Personal Finance Education Mandates and Student Loan Repayment
64 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2019 Last revised: 17 May 2022
Date Written: May 16, 2022
This paper estimates the impact of requiring high school students to complete personal finance education on federal student loan repayment behavior after college. I merge student loan borrowing and repayment data from the College Scorecard with data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System on counts of high school graduates enrolling in college from different states. I estimate the causal effect of personal finance education mandates by relating the change in the share of university students subject to a state mandate to changes in university cohort student loan outcomes. I find only students with higher-income parents respond by adjusting borrowing, reducing median balances by 7%. By contrast, first-generation and low-income borrowers bound by mandates did not significantly adjust borrowing, but were nonetheless more likely to pay down balances. Repayment improvements are in part due to better understanding of the terms governing federal student loans. State mandates that incorporate career research alongside personal finance education are associated with better student loan repayment than those focused only on personal finance education.
Keywords: financial literacy, student loans, postsecondary finance, high school curriculum
JEL Classification: D14, G51, G53, I22, I28, J24
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