Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Financial Cultural Capital: Cultural Capital in the Context of Higher Education and Federal Student Loans


Joey Brown

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Sociology

First Advisor

Gary Long

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Jackson

Third Advisor

John Sonnett


This thesis is an exploratory quantitative sociological analysis of the financial knowledge and experience of undergraduate students who have borrowed student loans. It also explores students' feelings about their loans. I surveyed 100 undergraduate students who had contracted student loans to gather information about their knowledge of financial instruments and feelings about their student loan debt. To explore students' knowledge and feelings, I created three indices: knowledge, feelings, and financial cultural capital and tested for racial differences between Blacks and Whites. The knowledge index investigates students' knowledge of the terms of their loans and experience with basic financial instruments. The feelings index captures students' feelings about their loans. Financial cultural capital takes a multidimensional approach by investigating students' financial literacy, confidence, socialization, and current financial habits. Most students did not have high levels of knowledge or financial cultural capital; however, they felt slightly positive about their student loan debts. While there were no significant differences in the scores of Blacks and Whites on the feelings and financial cultural capital indices, the knowledge index yielded significant racial variation with Whites having higher levels of knowledge than Blacks.

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