First Faculty Advisor
• Dr. Leila Zbib
Student Loans; College; Academic Performance; Debt; Financial Stress
The cost of college has increased disproportionately compared to wages over the last several decades and as a result, student debt has become more prominent. This study aims to identify and examine the relationship between student loan debt and academic performance. Using an online survey, Bryant Alumni and current juniors and seniors were asked questions pertaining to cumulative GPA at graduation, their financial stress level, demographics, student information, personal finances (including family background), and further education. GPA serves as the dependent variable and factors such as gender, race/ethnicity, the amount of debt, and siblings served as independent variables. The results of the survey are analyzed using a linear regression equation with GPA serving as a function of the various attributes in the study. These results indicate that debt beyond a certain point (in this case ≥$30,000), the presence of financially dependent siblings, and/or siblings in college at the same time as them in addition to debt negatively impacts academic performance. Financial stress is also found to take a toll on academic performance.