Human Services and ASL alum, Julie Miller ’09 has been featured in Boston College’s SSWR Doctoral Student Spotlight.
Exploring the Interaction of Student Loan Debt and Longevity Planning within the Context of the Family
Researcher: Julie Miller
About the Researcher: Julie Miller, MSW, is a fourth year doctoral candidate at Boston College and a Research Associate at the MIT AgeLab. She earned her MSW from UC Berkeley and her Bachelors of Science from Northeastern University.
Description of the Study: Julie’s doctoral dissertation explores how student loans are experienced by individuals and within families. Her work focuses on ways in which borrowers of different ages perceive and prioritize retirement and longevity-planning in light of student loans and loan debt and how families navigate student loan accrual and repayment.
Inspiration for the Study: As people live longer lives, economic security across the life course is especially vital. The burden of student loans may drive some individuals and families further down the socioeconomic ladder rather than up.
Methodological Approach: My dissertation uses qualitative and quantitative data collected at the MIT AgeLab through a concurrent triangulation mixed methods study design.
Findings: Preliminary results suggest that, particularly among women, planning for future financial security for oneself and/or family members may be less achievable with the presence of student loan debt. In addition, student loan repayment can influence family dynamics, including willingness and ability to provide intergenerational transfers to aging parents and dependent children.