There’s growing evidence that college going has become highly stratified, with low-income students enrolling in community colleges and non-competitive undergraduate schools, while more privileged peers attend more elite universities.
A new study by Daniel Rudel and Natasha Yurk reported at the American Sociological Association meetings this week suggests another layer of stratification, with those who go into debt for school reporting that they are less involved in social activities and campus life and more focused on work. One group of borrowers report being largely disengaged from school altogether. According to the authors:
College leaders need to remember, she said, that debt doesn’t just allow people to enroll in college, but changes their experience there. “Debt polarizes people,” Yurk said. “There is a chance students will gain responsibility. But there is a risk students get disengaged.”