Research in Higher Education

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 33–62 | Cite as

The Effect of Loans on the Persistence and Attainment of Community College Students

  • Alicia C. DowdEmail author
  • Tarek Coury


This study informs public policies regarding the use of subsidized loans as financial aid for community college students. Using logistic regression, it analyzes the National Center for Education Statistics’ Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS 90/94) data to predict persistence to the second year of college and associate’s degree attainment over five years. During the period under study, loans did not contribute to higher persistence and attainment rates. Loans are observed to have a negative effect on persistence and no effect on degree attainment. Estimates of the interaction effects of borrowing and income status are insignificant but demonstrate the need for further testing. The findings are attributed to a combination of the high uncertainty of degree completion among community college students and the negative affective component of indebtedness.


community college financial aid loan persistence 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate College of EducationUniversity of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA
  2. 2.University of OxfordOxfordUK

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