Understanding Loan Use and Debt Burden Among Low-income and Minority Students at a Large Urban Community College



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Journal of Student Financial Aid


This study examined a sample of community college students from a diverse, large urban community college system in Texas. To gain a deeper understanding about the effects of background characteristics on student borrowing behaviors and enrollment outcomes, the study employed descriptive statistics and regression techniques to examine two separate samples of students consisting of 1) loan recipients and 2) non-loan recipients. Chen’s heterogeneous research model served as the conceptual framework in the selection of predictors of interest and outcome variables. This study primarily focused on the relationship between borrowing and enrollment outcomes of low-income and racially/ethnically diverse students. Results show that students taking on debt at Metropolitan Community College (a pseudonym) are primarily female, Black, over the age of 20, low-income, and not academically prepared. While race/ethnicity did not significantly influence cumulative debt amount, race/ethnicity did account for significant differences in the likelihood of completion or transfer for both loan recipients and non-loan recipients.



Student debt, Community college students, Persistence, Loan default


Copyright 2018 Journal of Student Financial Aid. Recommended citation: Luna-Torres, Maria; McKinney, Lyle; Horn, Catherine; and Jones, Sara (2018) "Understanding Loan Use and Debt Burden Among Low-income and Minority Students at a Large Urban Community College," Journal of Student Financial Aid: Vol. 48 : Iss. 1 , Article 2. DOI: 10.1177/0895904818773902. URL:https://publications.nasfaa.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1619&context=jsfa. Reproduced in accordance with the original publisher's licensing terms and with permission from the author(s).