Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Management (DMgt)

First Advisor

Larry M. Starr, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

H. Syd Havely, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dominick Volini, Ph.D.


Total U.S. student loan debt has now reached $1.6 trillion accumulated by approximately 45 million Americans. While viable options exist, many do not adequately know of them or how to act on them the outcome of which is that many people with relatively small manageable debt are defaulting. Beneficial, financial student loan programs are vastly underutilized for many reasons one of which is poor financial literacy. In this dissertation, I argue that acquiring financial literacy is a system challenge. The model to support this hypothesis posits a system with inputs, an internal transformation process, outcomes, and a feedback loop. The transformation process within this system is where the interactions among students x teachers x content x context occur, and these interactions can co-produce financial literacy; one positive aspect of which is decreased student loan default rate. The dissertation concludes that a systems approach may improve understanding of the complex issues of student loan default.


A dissertation proposal submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Management in Strategic Leadership