Does Student Loan Debt Structure Young People’s Housing Tenure? Evidence from England

Ariane De Gayardon*, Claire Callender, Stephen L. Desjardins

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article analyses the interaction between two policy areas affecting young people in England – housing and student funding. It is the first of its kind exploring a range of dynamics in the relationship between housing and student loan debt. Young people today are far less likely to own their home and are more likely to live with their parents than earlier generations. In parallel, higher education tuition fee increases have led to a growing share of students taking out loans and graduating with higher debt, which they will be repaying for most of their working lives. This research examines the relationship between student loans – having borrowed for higher education and attitudes towards debt – and housing tenure at age 25, using the Next Steps dataset. We find that young graduates who did not borrow for higher education are more likely to own their home and less likely to rent or live with their parents than graduates who borrowed for their studies or young people who never attended higher education. These results suggest that higher education funding policies and student loan debt play important roles in structuring young people’s housing in England.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Social Policy
Early online date26 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • young people
  • homeownership
  • parental co-residence
  • higher education
  • student loans
  • housing


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