This discussion of student debt will question the premise that there is a general crisis, focusing on the students and institutions facing difficulties, the benefits of borrowing for college as well as the sometimes severe problems debt financing creates, and potential policy solutions. What is the logic behind calls to forgive student debt? Can the repayment system be modified to address borrower hardship while protecting taxpayers? Looking at the data on who borrows, how much they borrow, and how successfully they repay can ground the conversation in evidence rather than emotion.
Speaker: Sandy Baum
Sandy Baum is a nonresident senior fellow at the Urban Institute and professor emerita of economics at Skidmore College. Dr. Baum earned her B.A. in sociology at Bryn Mawr College, where she is currently a member of the Board of Trustees, and her Ph.D. in economics at Columbia University. She has written and spoken extensively on issues relating to college access, college pricing, student aid policy, student debt, affordability, and other aspects of higher education finance.
Dr. Baum co-authored the College Board’s annual publications Trends in Student Aid and Trends in College Pricing from 2002 through 2019. Through the College Board and the Brookings Institution, she has chaired major study groups that released proposals for reforming federal and state student aid. She has published numerous articles on higher education finance in professional journals, books, and the trade press. She is the principle researcher on the Urban Institute’s website on college affordability and her recent work includes Urban Institute briefs on Federal Work Study, Parent PLUS loans, and college endowments. She is the author of Student Debt: Rhetoric and Realities of Higher Education Financing (Palgrave Macmillan 2016) and co-author with Harry Holzer of Making College Work: Pathways to Success for Disadvantaged Students (Brookings Institution Press 2017). Dr. Baum publishes frequent blog posts on the Urban Wire at https://www.urban.org/urban-wire/author/sandy-baum.