Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Barbara S. Fuhrmann

Second Advisor

Michael F. Burnett


The purpose of this study is to examine the perceptions of students at a two-year college about their student loan debt management and the level of indebtedness incurred as a result of utilizing student loans. A survey was conducted in the Spring 2001 semester at Louisiana State University at Eunice in which a systematic random sample was selected. The 37-question survey instrument used in the study included 15 demographic questions and one-open ended question requesting respondents to provide suggestions that could be used to help other students. In addition, 21 perception statements were asked loan recipients. This study found that students do not understand their loan debt, payment options, and interest rates on their loans. Over 30 percent of the students in this study used credit cards to pay for college expenses. Students did not receive counseling services related to utilizing student loans, and debt management in particular. Five factors were identified through the factor analysis as constructs developed from the 21 perception statements. Factor 3; Perceptions of the Loan Process as a Last Resort explained 25.2 percent of the variance in students' understanding of their perceptions of the loan process. There were nine variables, which entered into the model. Total student loan debt incurred so far during college; whether or not the student was African American; expected income after graduation to be $35,000 to $45,000; expected family income after graduation to be $65,000 to $75,000; family income $35,000 to $45,000; expected income after graduation to be $35,000 to $45,000. Additional variables included: estimate your credit card debt; are you receiving scholarships, and types of financial aid received while at LSUE (Grants). Focus groups and case study data were consistent in revealing that loan recipients lack basic knowledge about the student loans they were using to pay for college expenses. Focus groups and case study respondents worried about their loan debt, over half did not know the interest rates on their loans, and all agreed that their student loan debt would impact their ability to purchase a home or car after graduating from college.