Rethinking the Student Debt Crisis

Friday, June 27, 2014


It’s hard to escape the prevailing media narrative that student loan debt is destroying an entire generation’s financial future. The New York Times' David Leonhardt reported on a new Brookings Institution study on education debt, in an article titled “The Reality of Student Debt is Different from the Cliches”an assertion that cuts against conventional wisdom. Bob speaks to David Leonhardt to get to the bottom of what his reporting reveals about the state of student loan debt.


David Leonhardt

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [5]

jon from vermont

My girlfriend was unable to acquire scholarships, so she will have a debt of over $150K when she graduates. I imagine that the government believes that her family can pay for her education, but they cannot. The fact that she may be a statistical anomaly is cold comfort to her: that debt burden is going to take a life-time to erase, and will affect her ability to purchase a home. There should be a cap on the amount that a person needs to pay out of pocket, and that cap should be more like $40K, not $150K

Jun. 30 2014 10:09 AM

Very interesting interview, however I have twin daughters that just graduated with their undergrad degrees, so I know dozens of their friends that definitely have $40,000 plus in debt and don't have jobs yet. I'm sure some of his points are correct, but I definitely disagree with the reality of the situation. We are a typical (probably low-end) middle class family making just under $100k as a family of four. Most of my daughters friends fall into the same category. In NYS, a state school will cost $80,000 to $100,000 over the course of 4 years - how can a student be borrowing less than $40,000? Absolutely not possible - unless of course, like the schools - he is considering federal loans as student aid. If he's only looking at what the amount of private loans are - then I would agree with him. But if you add in the federal loans these kids are taking plus the private loans - I don't buy it for a minute!!

Jun. 30 2014 09:53 AM

A study about student debt from the 80s won't necessarily apply to today's debt for another 30 years. As in the stock market, past performance results may not apply or occur.

He also didn't qualify his overall income rise & its concentration in the upper, high investment income groups.

Jun. 29 2014 03:39 PM
Beth Damon from Atlanta

Bob Garfield is such a pleasure to listen to. What particularly grabbed me is his correct usage of him and her instead of using 'they' as a singular. It's so nice to listen without being distracted from the subject matter by someone's bad grammar (e.g., when he or she puts "they" in this sentence, misuses who/whom, says "like" every other word (e.g., Terry Gross). Thanks.

Jun. 29 2014 02:37 PM
Erin from Oakland, Ca

I'd be very curious to know where your guest is getting his data that incomes have increased along with debt load. Everything I've ever read shows that median household income has actually decreased.

Jun. 29 2014 12:24 PM

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