Student Debt Makes You Feel Good

Apparently more debt leads to increased self-confidence. According to new research at Ohio State University:

Researchers found that the more credit card and college loan debt held by young adults aged 18 to 27, the higher their self-esteem and the more they felt like they were in control of their lives. The effect was strongest among those in the lowest economic class.

“Debt can be a good thing for young people – it can help them achieve goals that they couldn’t otherwise, like a college education,” said Rachel Dwyer, lead author of the study and assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University.

Well that’s an interesting take on this. Or maybe students with a lot of debt are just more delusional. The fact that students “felt” like they were in control is perhaps troublesome, since debt influences spending patterns and actually gives people less control.

Eventually they figure it out, however. By the time graduates reach age 28 the debt starts to cause stress in their lives.

The average student now graduates with $24,000 worth of student loan debt. Let’s hope he’s got $24,000 worth of confidence.

The study, supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, will appear in the next issue of Social Science Research.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer