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?”


North Carolina Aims to Halt Predatory Student Loan Lending

Student debt isn’t necessarily always bad. For some, taking out the necessary amount of loans to fund one’s education may be a prudent decision. But before taking out a loan, students should consider how much they actually need to borrow, from whom they should borrow, and whether they will likely be able to repay the … Continue reading “North Carolina Aims to Halt Predatory Student Loan Lending”


Why Don’t Governing Boards Rein in College Costs?

Public higher education was once America’s great enabler, permitting young people from lower-class backgrounds to attend college for very little money and to rise as far as their abilities and drives would take them. That may no longer be the case, according to economists James Koch and Richard Cebula. In their 2020 book, Runaway College … Continue reading “Why Don’t Governing Boards Rein in College Costs?”


To Fight Student Loan Debt, North Carolina Schools Need to Stop Pushing Parent PLUS Loans

Student loan debt has received more attention lately, but one aspect has been left out of the debate: parents taking on loans for their children. While undergraduate students generally can only borrow $12,500 each year, Parent PLUS loans have no such limits. This is the first year that the U.S. Department of Education has shared … Continue reading “To Fight Student Loan Debt, North Carolina Schools Need to Stop Pushing Parent PLUS Loans”


Biden Could Shake Up Higher Ed—If He Doesn’t Endorse the Status Quo

Now that President Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president, he wants to hit the ground running and attend to urgent priorities. One of his first moves was to extend student loan payment deferrals until October, buying time for further reforms to America’s higher education system. Deferrals will be one small part of … Continue reading “Biden Could Shake Up Higher Ed—If He Doesn’t Endorse the Status Quo”


Eliminate or Radically Restructure Federal Student Loans

A recent defense of student loans by Jason Delisle of the American Enterprise Institute is, uncharacteristically for him, off-base. He defends the federal student loan program, which he correctly notes is criticized by those on the left (“college should be free”) as well as on the right (“student loan programs have raised the price of … Continue reading “Eliminate or Radically Restructure Federal Student Loans”


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?”


Did You Know? Repaying Student Loans Isn’t Onerous for Most Graduates

College students have taken on so much debt that many political leaders are declaring a “student debt crisis.” Certainly, many former students are facing a crisis as they struggle to pay back their loans several years after graduation. Even graduates from low-earning fields of study, however, see their salaries improve to the point where their … Continue reading “Did You Know? Repaying Student Loans Isn’t Onerous for Most Graduates”


How did we get into the Student Loan Mess?

For all of the words devoted to our student loan mess (or "crisis" or "bubble"), little has been written on its origins. We know that student loan debt now exceeds $1 trillion and that many young Americans are struggling with a heavy burden, but how things got that way is largely a mystery.