As student debt has grown astronomically over the past few decades, topping $1.7 trillion in federal and privately held debt, there seemed a moment of (limited) hope over the summer after years of activism and pressure when the Biden administration announced a federal plan to cancel $10K of debt for most federal loan holders and $20K of debt for those who had received Pell Grants. That plan ground to a halt in November when Republican-led courts halted the program. In this episode we discuss the current state of student debt in the U.S., how we got here, and where we could go next.
The episode's guests are Elizabeth Tandy Shermer, an associate professor of history at Loyola University Chicago and the author of Indentured Students: How Government-Guaranteed Loans Left Generations Drowning in College Debt, and Charlie Eaton, an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Merced, where he co-founded the Higher Education, Race, and the Economy Lab. He is the author of Bankers in the Ivory Tower: The Troubling Rise of Financiers in US Higher Education.
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