The influence of student loan debt burden on the life choices of African -American bachelor's degree graduates: A phenomenological study of selected graduates of a midwest university
The purpose of this study was to understand the influence of student loan debt on the life choices of African-American Bachelor's Degree graduates of a Midwest, Research I University. Phenomenological in nature, the study addressed a grand tour question—what is the influence of student loan debt burden on the life choices of African American bachelor degree graduates? The study also examined eight research sub-questions and topical questions designed to assess the influence of student loan debt on life choices and how student loan debt burden was best explained for the participants.
Data were obtained by conducting structured, face-to-face interviews. The criteria to participate were: (a) identify as African-American, (b) received a baccalaureate degree from the University, and (c) used a federal student loan (Perkins and/or Stafford). Participants were acquired by using a snowballing technique.
The findings were: Student loan debt influenced life choices on a daily basis for some graduates. Student loan debt had little influence on when the participants would marry; however, it dissuaded participants from having children. Student loan debt had little influence on automobile purchases, but it significantly impeded home purchases. Student loan debt had no influence on career choice, but it dissuaded participants from acquiring more debt to attend graduate school. Student loan debt significantly reduced some graduates' ability to save. Student loan debt was a burden for the graduates because (a) the graduates believe they were naive and young when they acquired their student loan debt, (b) it was difficult to find employment quickly after graduation and the compensation was low when employment was found, (c) the length of repayment was too long, (d) the graduates believed they were allowed to borrow too much, and (e) the graduates believe they did not receive “true” counseling and guidance on student loan debt and viable alternatives to paying for college.
0514: School administration
0325: African Americans