Post-college characteristics are those that occur after a borrower has left school and include educational and occupational attainment (i.e. income, highest degree earned, occupation, and indebtedness), marital status, and number of dependents. Woo found that the strongest post-school variable associated with default is filing for unemployment insurance. Borrowers who experienced unemployment showed an 83 percent increase in their probability of default over their original probability (Woo 2002).
Nationally, borrowers indicate that the most important reasons for default are being unemployed (59 percent said this) and working at low wages (49 percent) (Volkwein et al. 1998).
In a study of borrowers who left postsecondary education between 1976 and 1985, defaulters were surveyed about the importance of various factors (many of which were post-college factors) that may have led to their default, including unemployment, low income, the presence of other more important loans to repay, dissatisfaction with their educational program, and intervening personal problems. Some 83 percent of proprietary school borrowers and 74 percent of two-year school borrowers said that being unemployed and without income were very or somewhat important reasons for their having defaulted (Dynarski 1994).

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