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PEDAR: Executive Summary  College Persistence on the Rise? Changes in 5-Year Degree Completion and Postsecondary Persistence Rates Between 1994 and 2000
Changes in Student Population
Changes in Student Borrowing
Changes in Degree Completion and 5-Year Persistence
Changes by Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Income
Research Methodology
Full Report (PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF)
 Changes in Student Borrowing

Over the 6-year period between cohorts, rising tuition and changes in federal loan regulations were associated with changes in the way in which beginning students financed their postsecondary education. Between 1989–90 and 1995–96, tuition at postsecondary institutions increased 20 to 40 percent, depending on the institution type (The College Board 1998). Financial aid also increased over this period, but loans made up a greater portion of aid in 1995–96 (The College Board 2000). Changes in federal loan regulations expanded students’ eligibility for both unsubsidized and subsidized loans (Berkner 2000). Consistent with these changes, the percentage of students who borrowed to help pay for their postsecondary education increased. During the course of their enrollment, nearly one-half of students who began their postsecondary education in 1995–96 took out student loans to help pay for their education, compared with about one-third of their counterparts who first enrolled 6 years earlier (table 4). Thus, beginning postsecondary students who enrolled in 1995–96 were more likely to accrue loan debt over the course of their studies than their counterparts who enrolled in 1989–90.

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