How Did We Get Into the Debt Trap?

No one spoke of college students being trapped in debt until rather recently. Prior to the advent of federal student aid programs, college wasn’t expensive, few Americans regarded it as important to their lives, and what borrowing they did for it was through private institutions that were careful not to lend where they perceived too … Continue reading “How Did We Get Into the Debt Trap?”


Reassessing the College Wage Premium Payoff

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts within the higher education policy space were projecting that four-year colleges could face a loss of up to 20 percent in fall enrollment. While these predictions never materialized, the political infatuation with college enrollment figures is not a new phenomenon. Barack Obama proclaimed the orthodox view of … Continue reading “Reassessing the College Wage Premium Payoff”


Money for Nothing: The Worst of Student Loan Debt Hits College Dropouts

I can’t remember a single alternative to college proposed to me, for me, my entire school-age life. That I would go to college after high school was presented by adults and taken by me as a given. How I would pay for it was always a thing to be figured out later. My mom had … Continue reading “Money for Nothing: The Worst of Student Loan Debt Hits College Dropouts”


Can the President Cancel Student Debt? Should He?

Many people and groups are pressuring Joe Biden to issue an executive order that would cancel some or all federal student debts shortly after he takes office. During the campaign, Biden said that he would immediately cancel $10,000 of student debt for each borrower, but some want the incoming president to go further. For example, … Continue reading “Can the President Cancel Student Debt? Should He?”


What the Election Will Mean for Higher Education

Though the 2020 election has focused on COVID-19 and the economy, higher ed has still gotten some attention. But only one party has a plan to transform college in their image. The Democrats have promised more money, more student debt forgiveness, and more initiatives to push young people through the college system in some way, … Continue reading “What the Election Will Mean for Higher Education”


When Student Debt Is A Good Thing (And When It’s Not)

Student debt has a bad reputation. It’s under attack from the left, which sees debt as a ball and chain that ruins the lives of young people who had the audacity to seek a decent education. Many on the right share this dim view of student debt but lay the blame at the feet of … Continue reading “When Student Debt Is A Good Thing (And When It’s Not)”


Did You Know? The UNC Degrees That Don’t Pay Off

Too many North Carolina students leave their universities with too much debt and a degree that won’t pay off. A new tool released in January by the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) reveals which programs give students the most (and least) return on their investment. The tool uses data from the College Scorecard as well … Continue reading “Did You Know? The UNC Degrees That Don’t Pay Off”


Christian Colleges Are Worth the Investment

Editor’s Note: This article is a response to a December Martin Center article on Christian colleges and student debt. In his recent article, “Are Christian Colleges Worth the Debt Burden?” Douglas Oliver argues that Christian colleges have a responsibility to reduce the tuition they charge their students to avoid excessive borrowing. He invokes a version … Continue reading “Christian Colleges Are Worth the Investment”


Court Decision Erases a Huge Student Debt—Is that Good or Bad?

For years, a contentious and sometimes emotionally heated debate has raged over the issue of letting people discharge their student loan debts in bankruptcy. A recent decision opens the door for individuals with high levels of student debt to have their burdens discharged in bankruptcy. Should we cheer? Until 1976, the bankruptcy law made no … Continue reading “Court Decision Erases a Huge Student Debt—Is that Good or Bad?”


What Do North Carolinians Think About Student Debt?

Student loan debt has reached the dizzying level of nearly $1.6 trillion—largely due to ever-soaring tuition prices and students taking on financial burdens that far outweigh their earning potential. The issue has gripped national attention to the point that presidential hopefuls are now promising various forms of student debt relief as a central campaign platform. … Continue reading “What Do North Carolinians Think About Student Debt?”