Research & Policy – Debt Plus Skip to main content

The Debt Plu$ Project explores the characteristics, enrollment patterns, and descriptive outcomes of Parent PLUS Loans, including how borrowing varies across student, family, and institutional contexts. 

Through rigorous research that leverages student and institutional data sources, the project produces actionable insights to inform public policy and institutional practice. View work from the DebtPlu$ project, including our peer-reviewed journal articles, policy briefs, and other research products below.

Publications

Briefs

This brief summarizes preliminary findings from the DebtPlu$ Project’s analysis of student-level and institutional data around Parent PLUS Loan borrowing and outcomes. Key insights from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (2012:17) build profiles of who borrows, how much, and how often—and document students’ descriptive outcomes. Data from the U.S. Department of Education (IPEDS and Title IV Program Volume Reports) show which institutions have more or less Parent PLUS Loan volume, including across sections, states, and special campus designations.

  • Taylor Odle, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Jeremy Wright-Kim & Meng Wang, University of Michigan
  • Jorge Burmicky, Howard University

June 2024

Reports

This report explores descriptive trends in Parent PLUS Loan usage for the last decade across institutional types. Findings suggest total borrowing is on the decline, though average amounts per recipient hold steady. We note substantial variation across sectors, as well as relatively high reliance on PLUS loans across select states and HBCUs. We offer considerations for future research and policymakers and practitioners amidst potential changes to the PLUS program.

  • Jeremy Wright-Kim & Meng Wang, University of Michigan
  • Taylor Odle, University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Jorge Burmicky, Howard University

June 2024