Date of Award


Degree Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Jack Welch College of Business


Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Business Administration in Finance, Sacred Heart University, Jack Welch College of Business & Technology, Fairfield, Connecticut.

Dissertation Supervisor

Dr. Khawaja Mamun

Committee Member

Dr. Benjamin Cummings

Committee Member

Dr. Jennifer Trudeau


As college costs rise, students aren’t the only ones facing the financial burden of education-related debt. In this paper, parent borrowing through the PLUS loan system, which is a federal program that provides parents and graduate students with access to funding for higher education costs, is examined. The systemic issues present in the PLUS loan system along with the rise in overall borrowing suggest the need for improved policies to help increase borrower awareness and improve loan outcomes. This paper is unique in that it addresses parent PLUS loan borrowing at the school level in order to identify factors that are associated with increases in borrowing and determine if borrowing is statistically different at the 1,712 public, private nonprofit, and private for-profit institutions analyzed. This paper finds a strong association between average net price and average parent PLUS loan borrowing at all institutions, but the borrowing sensitivity to average net price is greatest at public institutions compared to private nonprofit and private for-profit institutions. Given the observed differential patterns of borrowing across these institutions, targeted student loan reforms should address financial aid award letter standardization, enhancements to the College Scorecard, improved disclosures of loan costs, and modifications to the repayment plan options currently available for parent PLUS loan borrowers.

JEL Classification

I22, I28, G51

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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