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At the Extremes: Student Debt and Entrepreneurship

No other age group is associated more with entrepreneurship than Millennials, but young people between 20 and 34 years are no longer the largest group of emerging entrepreneurs. That’s not for lack of trying however, the majority of millennials surveyed reported either already owning, or wanting to own their own businesses. So what’s keeping them from achieving their goals? This report explores what entrepreneurship is in 2016, who are college-educated entrepreneurs, and if rising student loan debt is connected to falling entrepreneurship rates. Based on our investigation into these research questions, we found four key relationships: 

  • Higher student loan debt does correspond with lower rates of young adult entrepreneurship (but not at highest levels of debt);
  • Nearly half of college-educated young entrepreneurs reported that student debt affected their employment plans;
  • These same young college-educated entrepreneurs are somewhat more diverse than the Silicon Valley myth would suggest;
  • Young entrepreneurs with four-year degrees are more likely to earn income at the extremes.

Read the full report:


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