What are Student Loan Borrowers Thinking? Insights from Focus Groups on College Selection and Student Loan Decision Making
higher education students, financial status and behavior, life event barriers, financial education, education
This study used data from online focus groups collected from November 2014 to April 2015 to understand college students' decision-making processes when borrowing money to finance their education. Data were collected using an online course management system. Results suggest that (a) students relied heavily on advice from parents, guidance counselors, and friends; (b) attending college was not possible without student loans; and (c) students knew very little about the loans they would be responsible for repaying. Recommendations for financial educators and counselors to help student borrowers make prudent decisions about education debt are presented.