Signal Vine Blog: Text Me Back

Text Messages Help High Risk Borrowers Make Informed Loan Choices

Posted by Paige Altieri on January 8, 2016

Earning a college degree can be a fulfilling life experience - and a costly one. Student debt is continually rising and increasingly emerging as a policy concern. Though student loans are supposed to help students, some question the long-term effects on student borrowers. Community college and for-profit students in particular are at risk, since they often don’t have the resources or means necessary to understand the implications of a complicated loan origination process.

High Risk Borrowing

Andrew Barr, Kelli Bird, & Benjamin Castleman published a working paper this week that focused on student loan borrowing at the Community College Of Baltimore County. Using Signal Vine’s platform, the researchers prompted student loan applicants to make informed choices about loan borrowing by connecting students with financial aid counselors via text message. Providing students with information about the origination process led to a significant decrease in student borrowing, with the highest impact seen among Black students, low-income students, and students with lower high school GPAs. 

“Our results show that community college students’ borrowing decisions are influenced by simplified information about the loan origination process and access to one-on-one financial aid counseling,” states the research. Using the familiarity and simplicity of texting is a great way to educate students about their loan borrowing habits and encourage them to make informed choices about loan borrowing. 

Read the full working paper here.

Questions about the project? Tweet us @SignalVine!

 Or tweet @BenCastleman! 

Topics: Student Life, Financial Aid, Research