Written By: Samantha Brady, Julie Miller, Alexa Balmuth, Lisa A. D’Ambrosio, and Joseph F. Coughlin
Financial self-efficacy is associated with positive financial behaviors. This study investigates factors associated with financial self-efficacy among student loan borrowers based on original data collected through an online national survey of student loan borrowers between age 25 to 75. Results revealed that perceived student loan literacy prior to accruing higher education debt was significantly associated with current financial self-efficacy, while general financial literacy during repayment did not appear to be correlated with financial self-efficacy. This study draws on social cognitive theory to suggest that student loan literacy prior to accruing debt may act as a mastery experience, improving financial self-efficacy when the repayment period arrives. Given the increasing prevalence of student loans across all generations, this study underscores the need for early education and mentoring from financial professionals about student loan borrowing.