Studies, conferences, and workshops have considered the impact of student debt on education and labor decisions. They have also highlighted the evolution of student loan markets and considered the economic implications of rising student debt. This line of study is continuing under the auspices of the Bank’s newly established Consumer Finance Institute (CFI).

Borrowing for education has been the fastest growing segment of consumer debt in the past 10 years, particularly for lower-income communities. Compared with other types of credit such as mortgages, however, less is known about consumer financial behavior around student loans. For instance, what are the determinants of delinquency and default among student loan borrowers? What are the advantages and disadvantages of different student loan programs in ensuring access to higher education?

For five years, researchers at Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia have been studying topics related to student debt. This CFI in Focus article presents some of their work, including conferences and workshops featuring industry participants, consumer groups, academic researchers, and policymakers as well as recent economic research.

Total student debt by age group

The views reflected in this report represent those of the author and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia or the Federal Reserve System.