Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Kortegast, Carrie A.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


There is a rising level of debt associated with attending college. Educational investment decisions, knowledge of financial management, attitudes and practices of student borrowing can have a significant impact on students’ futures. Student loan debt has been linked to adverse effects post-graduation in terms of employment, savings and making major purchases. Financial aid and money management skills of federal student loans are needed to help students achieve a quality life as working adults (Wolber, 2012). Approaches toward basic financial aid literacy and managing student debt should be addressed on college campuses.

The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore undergraduate students’ understanding and perspectives about completing the FAFSA form, financial aid processes, student loan debt accumulation and management of student loans. The key findings that were revealed in this study were: the complicated FAFSA application form, financial aid processes, lack of financial literacy resources, cost of higher education, student loans, and debt accumulation. A few key recommendations that were made to address the findings of this study were: provide all first-year students with a detailed outline of financial processes and implementing a financial literacy component for first-year students.


177 pages




Northern Illinois University

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