Early Career Exploration as a Strategy to Reduce Loan Debt

  • Karen Abigail Williams LaGuardia Community College
Keywords: career exploration, college choice, habitus, secondary education, student loans, upward mobility


Despite the recent economic recovery, state support for higher education remains below pre- recession levels, making college loan debt a requirement for students from low and middle income families (Mitchell & Leachman, 2015). In cases where they have unmet financial need, students incur supplemental loan debt to attend these institutions, even if their out-of-pocket expenses are less at lower-ranked institutions (Williams, 2012). Study participants who entered college as low- income students recommended that students only assume loan debt if they understand their career goals, potential salaries, and the impact of loan debt on future finances. This article explores how attitudes about upward mobility influence college choice among low-income students and how early career exploration can be important in mitigating loan debt.


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Author Biography

Karen Abigail Williams, LaGuardia Community College

KAREN A. WILLIAMS, EdD is the Interim Associate Dean of Student Access and Achievement at LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York. Her major research interests include college choice, student loan debt, K-12 career development and student success. Email: kawilliams@lagcc.cuny.edu