Was it Worth it? Using Student Loans to Finance a College Degree


  • William Nuckols Old Dominion University
  • Kim E. Bullington Old Dominion University
  • Dennis E. Gregory Old Dominion University




student loans, student financial aid, debt, degree satisfaction, qualitative research


This qualitative study explores the perceptions of value added to the lives of graduates who borrowed money to fund their college educations. Through the lens of cognitive dissonance theory, five themes emerged. Overall, the study participants agreed that the ability to take on student loans to fund their education was worth it, but on the other hand feel overburdened with the cost of paying back their loans.  This paper also provides a foundation for future research and identifies public policy shortcomings and suggests solutions.  


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How to Cite

Nuckols, W., Bullington, K. E., & Gregory, D. E. (2020). Was it Worth it? Using Student Loans to Finance a College Degree . Higher Education Politics and Economics, 6(1), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.32674/hepe.v6i1.1358



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