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Undergraduate Debt and Participation in Graduate Education: The Relationship Between Educational Debt and Graduate School Aspirations, Applications, and Attendance Among Students With a Pattern of Full-Time, Continuous Postsecondary Education GREB

Ekstrom, Ruth B.; Goertz, Margaret E.; Pollack, Judith M.; Rock, Donald A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
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Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Graduate Record Examinations Board, Access to Education, Aspiration, Educational Finance, Graduate Study, High School and Beyond (HS&B), National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972 (NLS), Student Loan Programs


This study explored the relationship between undergraduate educational loan indebtedness and graduate school aspirations, application, enrollment, and persistence, using data from the National Longitudinal Study of 1972 and from the 1980 and 1982 cohorts of High School and Beyond. The analysis was limited to full-time students who did not interrupt their postsecondary education. The results show that aspirations and application for graduate education were slightly higher for indebted than non-indebted college seniors in 1976 and 1984 and essentially equal for these two groups in 1986. Slightly more college graduates with educational debt than without enrolled in graduate or professional school in 1976 and 1984. Regression analyses showed little unique contribution of debt level to graduate aspirations, application, enrollment and persistence after controlling for factors such as background and differences in undergraduate educational experience.

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