skip to main content skip to footer

Attitudes Toward Borrowing and Participation in Postsecondary Education

Ekstrom, Ruth B.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Attitudes, College Attendance, College Bound Students, High School Seniors, Higher Education, Postsecondary Education, Student Financial Aid, Student Loan Programs


High school seniors who answered that they would choose to borrow, when asked what they would do if college costs were $1,500 more than they, their family, and a scholarship could provide, were significantly more likely to attend college in the next four years than were students who answered that they would choose other options (delaying college entrance, attending a less expensive college, or getting a job). This held true even after controlling for other variables such as educational aspirations, tested achievement, influence from others, and socioeconomic status. This finding supports the contention that students who are reluctant to borrow are less likely to enroll in postsecondary education. Among the students who did enroll in college, willingness to borrow was significantly associated with attendance at a four-year college rather than a two-year college and with full-time rather than part-time attendance. This may mean that recent changes in financial aid packaging, with fewer grants and more loans, have had an effect not only on college enrollments but also on the type of college that students attend and on the proportion of students enrolling in college on a part- time basis. The results also suggest that, all else being equal, students who are knowledgeable about financial aid sources may be more likely to enroll in college than are students with less knowledge of these sources. (12pp.)

Read More