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Repayment Burdens of Mortgage-style Student Loans in China and Steps toward Income Contingent Loans

by Yu Cai, Bruce Chapman, Qing Wang*

ARTICLE | Economics of Education Review | Forthcoming


Currently China is experiencing unprecedented growth in higher education enrolments, with this trend set to continue. Whether higher education financing policy is able to facilitate this expansion is a critical issue for both education outcomes and economic growth. Using cross-sectional earnings data from the Chinese Household Income Project we find that a significant proportion of low-income graduates have a high likelihood of experiencing financial difficulties with current loan arrangements, implying high levels of financial hardship, a reliance on family members to meet repayments in order to avoid difficulties, and for some, default. In contrast we show that a properly designed income-contingent loan scheme has the potential to significantly mitigate, even eliminate, these concerns without attendant high budgetary costs. Our findings have important policy implications for Chinese higher education financing.
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