Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Student debt is a well-documented topic in sociological literature. It is well known that there is a student loan crisis in the United States. However, kinship or familial ties in educational debt is not as studied as individual student loans. The student debt crisis seems to reach a new catastrophic level as years pass. Yet, not much research exists that looks at external sources of financing for students such as parents, grandparents, or other familial ties. This study contributes to the literature of student debt by analyzing debt patterns across those that take out loans for themselves, their spouse, or their children. More specifically, this study hones in on the conditions that bring someone to take out an educational loan at all and how that differs from people that take out educational loans for their spouses or children.

Using data from the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finance, this study quantitatively examines how race, sex, education, income, and number of kids affect the total amount borrowed, the interest rate given, and whether or not it was a Federal loan taken out. The results reinforce previous findings of race being an indicator of more educational debt, however, I did not find a significant predictor for interest rates and could not make an argument for predatory lending practices.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.