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The Effects of Default Choice on Student Loan Borrowing
Last registered on April 26, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
The Effects of Default Choice on Student Loan Borrowing
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004123
Initial registration date
April 22, 2019
Last updated
April 26, 2019 2:55 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Florida
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Florida
PI Affiliation
University of Pittsburgh
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2018-05-01
End date
2019-05-15
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We explore the role of defaults and choice architecture on student loan decision-making, experimentally testing the impact of opt-in and opt-out decision environments compared to an active choice environment. We demonstrate that the default choice presented does influence student loan borrowing decisions. Specifically, compared to active choice, students presented within an opt-in decision environment where almost five percent less likely to accept all packaged loans and borrowed 3.3 percent less in federal educational loans. These changes in borrowing did not induce substitution towards private or Parent PLUS loans nor did they negatively impact enrollment, academic performance, or on-campus work outcomes.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Kramer, Dennis, Christina Lamb and Lindsay Page. 2019. "The Effects of Default Choice on Student Loan Borrowing." AEA RCT Registry. April 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4123-2.0.
Former Citation
Kramer, Dennis et al. 2019. "The Effects of Default Choice on Student Loan Borrowing." AEA RCT Registry. April 26. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4123/history/45513.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Random assignment of default choice to student loan decisions
Intervention Start Date
2018-07-01
Intervention End Date
2018-08-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Academic year total, subsidized, and unsubsidzed loan borrowing. Private and ParentPLUS loan borrowing.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Downstream enrollment, academic, and on-campus work outcomes.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
New and returning undergraduates will be randomly assigned to one of three default choice conditions.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization through R randomizr package and blocked on the following characteristics: 1) prior loan borrowing levels and 2) year in school.
Randomization Unit
Student
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
No clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
12,000
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
12,000
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
MDES 0.054 between each experimental group and the control group.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
UNiversity of Florida
IRB Approval Date
2016-11-21
IRB Approval Number
IRB201601926
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers