Publication Date



This study examines the association between education loans and postcollege wealth accumulation among young adults. Data come from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, and the analyses control for a number of student characteristics, college experiences, and parental income. Results from a treatment-effect model indicate that having education loans upon leaving college is negatively related to postcollege net worth, financial assets, nonfinancial assets, and value of primary housing. Furthermore, having education loans also has a negative impact on the value of net worth among Black young adults. The relationship between the amount of education loans and wealth accumulation is not statistically significant among those with outstanding loans.

Document Type

Working Paper


Financial Inclusion


Asset Building

Original Citation

Zhan, M., & Xiang, X. (2014). Education loans and wealth building among young adults (CSD Working Paper No. 14-14). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


College Success


529, adult, assets, college debt, debt, homeownership, post-secondary education