Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Kofi Lomotey

Second Advisor

Becky Ropers-Huilman


With 50% of college attendees leaving college with student loan debt and the default rate of these loans dropping substantially, it may be time to turn our attention away from repayer-defaulter comparisons to look at loaner-non-loaner comparisons. This study addressed the research gaps in the student loans literature by linking leadership, diligence, and post-collegiate behaviors to loan procurement. Respondents in this study (n = 692) were examined and survey data was collected using abstracted versions of the Posner and Brodsky (1992) Leadership Practice Inventory, the Bernard (1991) Diligence Inventory, and an original demographic questionnaire. Leadership competencies, diligence competencies, post-collegiate behaviors, and demographic characteristics were linked to the presence or absence of loan procurement. The quantitative procedures concluded that there are developmental leadership and diligence benefits associated with student loan procurement. The leadership and diligence logistic regression models were strong predictive tools for loan procurement. Logistic models were developed for African Americans, Whites, females, and males. There were no significant differences found in the post-collegiate behaviors of loaner and non-loaner groups. The qualitative results of this study indicated that there are gender and racial differences in the perceptions of leadership, diligence, and the variables associated with success. In contrast to the quantitative results, graduates' reactions to their loan status included regret, anxiety, frustration, and anger. Graduates also expressed concerns about student loan procurement and its negative consequences on post-collegiate lives (consumer purchases and just-out-of-school salaries), administrative issues, and interest accumulations. Implications to the economic returns of a college education, quality of life factors, loan sensitivity, educational opportunity, and national, state, university, and personal financial policies were discussed.