NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Students From High Income Families Get Federal Education Loans

December 3, 2001

Federal student loans swelled in both amounts and volume during the 1990s, a new report from the American Council on Education documents. And under new rules established in 1992 -- which eased eligibility, raised loan limits and made unsubsidized loans available regardless of income -- students from middle- and upper-income families began to borrow much more heavily.

  • Annual federal student loan volume more than doubled -- to $37.4 billion from 1990 to 2000 -- and the number of loans made annually also more than doubled -- from 4.5 million to 9.4 million.
  • Of those getting loans, the percentage of dependent students from families making $100,000 a year or more jumped from 8.2 percent to 44.3 percent from 1992-93 to 1999-2000.
  • At the same time, the percentage of dependent students from families making $50,000 to $99,999 who borrowed more than doubled -- as did their median loan amounts.

Borrowers who drop out of college are far more likely to default on their loans, experts report. And the six-year graduation rate at many schools is just 40 percent.

Source: Tracey Wong Briggs, "Student Loans for All Income Levels Increases," USA Today, December 3, 2001; "Student Borrowing in the 1990s, ACE Issue Brief," November 2001, American Council on Education.

For USA Today article


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