As of last year, student loan debt in the U.S. exceeded $1.2 trillion, more than any other type of household debt except home mortgages. Media accounts have described this as the “potential next debt bomb for the U.S.” and “the next financial disaster.” But is there really a student loan debt crisis? To find out, I spoke with Beth Akers, a fellow in the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings. She explains how evidence sheds light on the problem, noting that it’s difficult to reconcile reports of bad outcomes with what is, in general, a very good investment.
Also in this podcast, listen to Senior Fellow Bruce Riedel speak about his new book, What We Won: America’s Secret War in Afghanistan, 1979-89 (Brookings Institution Press, 2014).
• Is a Student Loan Crisis on the Horizon? (report by Beth Akers and Matt Chingos)
• The Typical Household with Student Loan Debt (Brown Center Chalkboard)
• Student Loan Safety Nets: Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Income-Based Repayment (paper by Akers and Chingos)
• Student Loans Rising (paper by William Gale, Benjamin Harris, Bryant Renaud, and Katherine Rodihan)