Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Serkan Ozbeklik

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With more than $1.48 trillion in outstanding student loans and nearly five million Americans in default in 2017, student loans may pose one of the greatest threats to financial stability of individuals in the coming years. Failing to pay loans on time may result in wage garnishment and the suspension of Social Security payments. The second largest form of household debt, student loans are almost never dischargeable in bankruptcy and yet are critical for millions to make investments in human capital. This thesis utilizes the October 2017 addition of administrative data in the Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) to analyze factors influencing likelihood of student loan default in the United States up to 20 years post-enrollment. It applies logistic regression analysis to BPS 1996 and BPS 2004 and is able to trace the evolution of contributing factors over time.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.