Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Betsy DeVos, Trump's choice for Secretary of Education, has the power to ease the suffering of student-loan debtors

Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump's choice for Secretary of Education, has no experience in higher education, and that may be a good thing for student-loan debtors.

Most commentators on the student-loan crisis are insiders who want to maintain the status quo regarding the federal student loan program. The universities depend on regular infusions of student-loan money, which enables them to raise their tuition prices year after year at twice the rate of inflation.

But DeVos has no ties to higher education at all, and thus she has the capacity to look at the student-loan catastrophe from a fresh perspective. In fact, DeVos has the power to do one simple thing that could potentially bring relief to millions of distressed student-loan debtors.

Under current bankruptcy law, debtors cannot discharge their student loans in bankruptcy unless they can show that repaying the loans will cause them "undue hardship."  In nearly every case, the Department of Education and the student-loan guaranty companies argue that student-loan debtors should be denied bankruptcy relief under the undue hardship standard.

Instead, they routinely demand that distressed college borrowers enroll in long-term income-based repayment plans that can last for 20 or even 25 years.  And DOE and its debt collectors make this demand even when debtors' income is so low that they pay nothing or next to nothing under the terms of these plans.

Here are some examples:
  • In the Edwards case, decided last spring, Educational Credit Management (ECMC) argued that Rita Gail Edwards, a woman in her mid-50s, should pay $56 a month for 25 years to service a debt of almost a quarter of a million dollars! 
  • In the Roth case, ECMC opposed bankruptcy relief for Janet Roth, an elderly woman with chronic health problems who was living on Social Security income of less than $800 a month. Instead, ECMC wanted Roth to enter a long-term repayment plan even though ECMC conceded that Roth's income was so low that she would pay nothing under the plan. 
  • In the Abney case, DOE wanted Abney, a 40-year-old father of two, to enter a 25-year income-based repayment plan. Abney was living on $1200 a month and was so poor he couldn't afford a car and rode a bicycle to get to his job.
In essence, DOE and the debt collectors maintain that almost no one is entitled to discharge their student loans in bankruptcy and that everyone should be placed in long-term, income based repayment plans.

What if Secretary DeVos simply decreed that DOE and the loan guaranty agencies will stop pushing long-term repayment plans in the bankruptcy courts and would consent to bankruptcy discharges for people like Roth, Edwards, and Abney? (Incidentally, in all three cases, the bankruptcy courts rejected the creditors' arguments and discharged the student loans in their entirety.)

By consenting to bankruptcy discharges for people like Abney, Edwards and Roth, the Department of Education would signal to the bankruptcy courts that it supports a less harsh interpretation of the "undue hardship" standard. That would open the door for thousands of people of distressed debtors to file bankruptcy to discharge their student loans.

Some people might argue that my proposal would unleash a flood of bankruptcy filings that would undermine the financial integrity of the federal student loan program. But let's face facts. People like Roth, Edwards and Abney would never have paid back their student loans, and placing them in 25-year repayment plans that would have obligated them to make token payments that would have done nothing more than maintain the cynical fiction that their loans weren't in default.

Wouldn't it be better for DOE to be candid about the student-loan crisis and admit that millions of people will never pay back their loans? Wouldn't it be better public policy to allow honest but unfortunate debtors to get the fresh start that the bankruptcy courts are intended to provide?

Betsy DeVos is fresh on the scene of the student-loan catastrophe. Let's hope she brings some fresh thinking to the U.S. Department of Education.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

American Bar Association begins cracking down on mediocre law schools: Too little, too late

After waking from a long slumber, the American Bar Association is finally cracking down on mediocre law schools. A few days ago, the ABA censured Valparaiso University School of Law and placed Charlotte School of Law on probation. According to the ABA, both schools had violated ABA standards requiring law schools to only admit students who are likely to pass the bar exam.

This is not the first time that ABA has censured a mediocre law school. Last summer, the ABA's accrediting unit recommended against  accrediting the newly organized University of North Texas School of Law and cited Ava Maria Law School for failing to comply with ABA quality standards. Like Charlotte and Valparaiso, UNT and Ava Maria received ABA raspberries for low admission standards.

But the ABA's sanctions against four mediocre law schools is too little and too late. The job market for lawyers has imploded; and law chool admission applications have plunged. Many second- and third-tier law schools have had to lower their admissions standards just to fill empty seats; consequently, a lot of law schools are graduating a high number of students who will have difficulty passing their bar exams.

Law School Transparency (LST), a watchdog organization that monitors law school admission standards and bar pass rates, identified a great many law schools that have very low admission standards. LST constructed a model for determining when law school admission standards are so low that students run the risk of failing the bar, and it found a high number of law schools with dicey admission standards.

These are some of LST's most startling findings from its 2015 report on law schools' admission standards for their 2014 entering classes:
  • Seven law schools had admitted students with qualifications so low that 50 percent of their freshman classes ran an extreme risk of failing the bar exam. Those schools included Southern University Law Center, a historically black institution; and Arizona Summit and Florida Coastal, two for-profit law schools.
  • Twenty-six law schools had admission standards so low that 25 percent of their entering classes were at extreme risk of failing the bar.  Texas Southern, another historically black law school, is on that list, along with several regional public institutions, including North Carolina Central University, Ohio Northern University, and Southern Illinois University.
  • Twenty-nine law schools had admission standards so low that 25 percent of their entering classes ran a very high risk of failing the bar exam. Among this number were John Marshall Law School, a for-profit institution; Widener University, a private school; and University of Arkansas at Little Rock, a public institution.
It is the ABA's responsibility to monitor law schools' quality standards, and it fell down on the job. In fact, an advisory panel for the Department of Education recently recommended that the ABA's authority to accredit more law schools be suspended for a year--an astonishing rebuke to a very powerful professional organization.

But even if the ABA gets serious about enforcing quality standards at the nation's law schools, thousands of law-school graduates have already been seriously injured. On average, an individual graduates from law school with $140,000 in student-loan debt; and there are now two newly minted attorneys for every available law job.

Some law graduates have sued their law schools for misrepresentation, arguing they were lured into enrolling based on misleading job placement rates that the law schools disseminated. So far, these suits have been unsuccessful. Thomas M. Cooley Law School and Thomas Jefferson Law School, for example, successfully defended lawsuits filed by their graduates.

A number of law school graduates have filed bankruptcy in an attempt to discharge their student loans. Some have been successful or at least partly successful--the Barrett case and the Hedlund case. Others have lost their adversary lawsuits: Mark Lilly and Mark Tetzlaff.

In my view, people who graduated from second- and third-tier law schools with mountains of debt and no law job should seriously consider filing bankruptcy. But if they pursue this course, they must educate the bankruptcy judge about the terrible job market for lawyers and the high debt load that most law graduates now carry.

As the crisis in legal employment becomes more evident, I think bankruptcy judges will become more and more sympathetic toward law school graduates who are burdened by heavy debt loads and don't have law jobs. I think judges might be particularly sympathetic to debtors who graduated from second- and third-tier law schools given the terrible job prospects for these people.

As I said, educating the bankruptcy judge is critical. The data collected by Law School Transparency is a good place to look for data that will help bankruptcy judges understand the absolutely desperate plight of many recent law scool graduates.


Barrett v. U.S. Department of Education, 545 B.R. 645 (Bankr. N.D. Cal. 2016).

Paul Fain. Federal panel votes to terminate ACICS and tightens screws on other accreditors. Inside Higher Ed, June 24, 2016.

Andrew Kreighbaum. ABA Censures Law School. Inside Higher Ed, November 22, 2016.

Andrew Kreighbaum. ABA Tighens Up. Inside Higher Ed, August 31, 2016.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Tiny liberal arts colleges are dead. They just don't know it. 15 small-college presidents meet in New York City.

My father was a fighter pilot in the Army Air Corps in December, 1941, stationed at Clark Field in the Philippines. He often told this story about his introduction to World War II.

About two weeks before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, my father told me, his commander called all the young airmen together for a meeting.

"Make out your wills and get your affairs in order," the commander told the pilots. You are not dead yet, but most of you will be soon."

And the commander was right. My father's P-40 fighter plane was bombed on the ground when the Japanese attacked Clark Field a few hours after the Pearl Harbor attack. Six months later, my father  was captured on the Bataan Peninsula, along with the entire American  army. He experienced the Bataan Death March and spent the rest of the war in a Japanese concentration camp. Two thirds of his fellow prisoners died while in captivity.

I thought of my father's story as I read an article about a recent meeting of 15 presidents of the nation's smallest liberal arts colleges, which took place in New York City last June. All  15 presidents represented institutions with 800 students or fewer.

Rick Seltzer of Inside Higher Ed reported on the meeting, from which I gathered the presidents concluded that their colleges are doing a great job educating young people. The problem, from the presidents' perspective, is poor public relations; the public simply does not realize just how neat and special these colleges are.

Thomas O'Reilly, president of Pine Manor College (about 450 students), said this about his institution: "We're small enough that we can work with a handful of students, and if it works for them, it can be quickly spread across the rest of the programs we're offering.. If it doesn't we can quickly stop--just as importantly--without having made a major investment."

OK, I got it. Small liberal arts colleges are nimble, and that's why they're special.

Mariko Silver, president of Bennington College, another micro institution, said the nation was  focused overmuch on scaling up higher education without appreciating the small colleges. "One of the things that I feel makes American higher education the envy of the world is a real diversification of institution types--an ecosystem."

Nice talking points, Mariko! Everyone in higher education likes to be reassured that American colleges are the envy of the world.

But in fact, the tiny liberal arts colleges are on the verge of extinction. A few small liberal arts colleges will survive and even thrive: those with large endowments or sterling reputations like many of the small liberal arts colleges in New England. And small colleges that excel in nursing or health care will probably be fine.

But tiny colleges with 800 students are fewer cannot long survive, in my opinion. As my father's commander might have put; they are dead and just don't know it.

 I don't say this with any pleasure. The microbrew college presidents are probably right to say there is a distinct value to receiving a liberal arts education at a small college. But the economics of higher education today simply won't allow the small liberal arts colleges to survive. In 2015, Moody's Investor Service predicted that college closings would triple by 2017.

And Moody's prediction is too conservative. Of the 15 colleges represented at the New York City meeting last June, I predict half will close within five years. Shimer College, for example, has fewer than 100 students. Who thinks it will still be open in 2022? Shimer is in Chicago. I'm surprised Shimer's president could afford to travel to New York City.

Apart from all the other challenges small liberal arts college face, they simply can't survive in a world of ever increasing state and federal regulations. And here's an example.

In a case decided by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals last May, Michele Dziedzic sued SUNY Oswego for sexual discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because she was transferred from the paint department to the plumbing department. The plumbing department, in her view, was "less prestigious" than the paint department, which she maintained was an elite unit. Dziedzic also said she had suffered from a hostile working environment due to sexual jokes and racy pictures that she was forced to endure when she collected her mail from a mailbox in the men's locker room.

I am not belittling Ms. Dziedzic's grievances. She may very well have been transferred to the plumbing department for nefarious reasons, and being forced to visit the men's locker room to collect her mail may have been humiliating.

But is this a federal case that must travel to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals? The suit may not have cost Ms. Dziedzic much; she represented herself. But SUNY Oswego was represented by four lawyers!

How many suits like that could an institution like Shimer College or Pine Manor College endure? Not many.

At my own institution, I signed a form awhile back certifying that I had read a safety memo informing me that it is dangerous for university students or employees to text on their cell phones while walking on campus. I imagine this memo was spawned by some state or federal safety regulation. How much did my university spend warning students and employees not to walk while texting?

In recent years, the U.S. Department of Education has issued "Dear Colleague" letters that dictate how colleges manage their restrooms and their student grievance procedures.  Each of these "Dear Colleague" letters imposes a financial burden on coleges and uniersities.

And the colleges don't push back on the ever tightening noose of federal regulation because they are all addicted to federal student aid money.

I will be sorry to see the small liberal arts fade away like old soldiers. But I feel sorrier still for students who take out student loans to attend these dying institutions--institutions that may well be closed before their graduates pay off their student loans.


Dziedzic v. State University of New York at Oswego, 648 Fed.Appx. 125 (2d Cir. 2016).

Rick Seltzer. Leaders consider future of tiny liberal arts colleges. Inside Higher ED, November 11, 2016.

Kellie Woodhouse. Moody's predicts college closures to triple by 2017. Insider Higher ED, September 28, 2015.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The student loan crisis and the first 100 days: Please, President Trump, provide bankruptcy relief for distressed student-loan debtors

Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election, and we can throw her promise of a tuition-free college education in the ashcan. Meanwhile, the student loan crisis grows worse with each passing month.

Eleven million people have either defaulted on their loans or are delinquent in their payments. More than 5 million student-loan debtors are in long-term income based repayment plans that will never lead to loan payoffs.Several million student borrowers have loans in deferment or forbearance while interest continues to accrue on their loan balances.

Soon we will have a new president, and an exciting opportunity to look at the federal student loan program from a fresh perspective. What can President Trump do to bring relief to distressed college-loan debtors. Here are some ideas--respectfully submitted:


President Trump can do several things quickly to alleviate the suffering.

Stop garnishing Social Security checks of loan defaulters. More than 150,000 elderly student-loan defaulters are seeing their Social Security checks garnished. President Trump could stop that practice on a dime. Admittedly, this would be a very small gesture; the number of garnishees is minuscule compared to the 43 million people who have outstanding student loans. But this symbolic act would signal that our government is not heartless.

Streamline the loan-forgiveness process for people who were defrauded by the for-profit colleges. DOE already has a procedure in place for forgiving student loans taken out by people who were defrauded by a for-profit college, but the administrative process is slow and cumbersome. For example, Corinthian Colleges and ITT both filed for bankruptcy, and many of their former students have valid fraud claims. So far, few of these victims have obtained relief from the Department of Education.

Why not simply forgive the student loans of everyone who took out a federal loan to attend these two institutions and others that closed while under investigation for fraudulent practices?

Force for-profit colleges to delete mandatory arbitration clauses from student enrollment documents. The Obama administration criticized mandatory arbitration clauses, but it didn't eliminate them. President Trump could sign an Executive Order banning all for-profit colleges from putting mandatory arbitration clauses in their student-enrollment documents.

Banning mandatory arbitration clauses would allow fraud victims to sue for-profit colleges and to bring class action suits. And by taking this step, President Trump would only be implementing a policy that President Obama endorsed but didn't get around to implementing.

Abolish unfair penalties and fees. Student borrowers who default on their loans are assessed enormous penalties by the debt collectors--18 percent and even more. President Trump's Department of Education could ban that practice or at least reduce the penalties to a more reasonable amount.


The reforms I outlined are minor, although they could be implemented quickly through executive orders or the regulatory process. But the most important reform--reasonable access to the bankruptcy courts--will require a change in the Bankruptcy Code.

Please, President Trump, prevail on Congress to abolish 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(8) from the Bankruptcy Code--the provision that requires student-loan debtors to show undue hardship as a condition for discharging student loans in bankruptcy.

Millions of people borrowed too much money to get a college education, and they can't pay it back. Some were defrauded by for-profit colleges, some chose the wrong academic major, some did not complete their studies, and some paid far too much to get a liberal arts degree from an elite private college. More than a few fell off the economic ladder due to divorce or illness, including mental illness.

Regardless of the reason, most people took out student loans in good faith and millions of people can't pay them back. Surely a fair and humane justice system should allow these distressed debtors  reasonable access to the bankruptcy courts.

President Trump can address this problem in two ways:

  • First, the President could direct the Department of Education and the loan guaranty agencies (the debt collectors) not to oppose bankruptcy relief for honest but unfortunate debtors--and that's most of the people who took out student loans and can't repay them.
  • Second, the President could encourage Congress to repeal the "undue hardship" provision from the Bankruptcy Code.
Critics will say that bankruptcy relief gives deadbeat debtors a free ride, but in fact, most people who defaulted on their loans have suffered enough.from the penalties that have rained down on their heads.

More importantly, our nation's heartless attitude about student-loan default has discouraged millions of Americans and helped drive them out of the economy. President Trump has promised middle-class and working-class Americans an opportunity for a fresh start. Let's make sure that overburdened student-loan debtors get a fresh start too.


Natalie Kitroeff. Loan Monitor is Accused of Ruthless Tactics on Student Debt. New York Times, January 1. 2014. Accessible at

Stephen Burd. Signing Away Rights. Inside Higher Ed, December 17, 2013. Available at

Andrew Kreighbaum, Warren: Education Dept. Failing Corinthian StudentsInside Higher Ed, September 30, 2016. Accessible at

Senator Elizabeth Warren to Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr., letter dated September 29, 2016. Accessible at

Ashley A. Smith. U.S. Urged to Deny Aid to For-Profits That Force Arbitration. Inside Higher Ed, February 24, 2016. Available at:

U.S. Department of Education. U.S. Department of Education Takes Further Steps to Protect Students from Predatory Higher Education Institutions. March 11, 2016. Accessible at

U.S. General Accounting Office. Older Americans: Inability to Repay Student Loans May Affect Financial Security of a Small Percentage of Borrowers. GAO-14-866T. Washington, DC: General Accounting Office.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Black students and the student loan crisis: African Americans suffer most

Judith Scott-Clayton and Jing Li published a report for the Brookings Institution last month on the disparity in student-debt loads between blacks and whites. Essentially, Scott-Clayton and Li told us us what we should already know, which is this: African Americans are suffering more from student-loan debt than whites.

Scott-Clayton and Li's findings

Here are the report's key findings:
  • On average, blacks graduate from college with $23,400 in college loans compared to whites, who graduate with an average debt load of $16,000.
  • The disparity in debt loads between blacks and whites nearly triples four years after graduation. By that time, the average debt load for African Americans  is $52,726, compared to $28,006 for white graduates.
  • Four years after graduation, black graduates are three times more likely to default on their student loans than whites. For African Americans the rate is 7.6 percent; among whites, only 2.4 percent are in default.
  • Four years after graduation, almost half of African American graduate (48 percent) owe more on their undergraduate student loans than they did when they graduated.
  • Although African Americans are going to graduate school at higher rates than whites, blacks are three times more likely to be in a for-profit graduate program than whites. Among whites, 9 percent enroll in for-profit graduate programs; for blacks, the rate is 28 percent.

Growing debt loads for black graduates and high numbers of blacks attending for-profit graduate programs: Disturbing

In my mind, Scott-Clayton and Li's most disturbing findings are set forth in the last two bullet points. First, almost half of African American college graduates owe more on their undergraduate loans four years after graduation than they did on graduation day,  What's going on? 

Clearly, people who are seeing their total indebtedness grow four years after beginning the repayment phase on their loan are not making loan payments large enough to cover accruing interest.  Those people either defaulted on their loans, have loans in deferment/forbearance, or are making token payments under income-based repayment plans that are not large enough to pay down the principle on their loans.

Surely it is evident that people with growing student-loan balances four years after graduation are more likely to eventually default on their loans than people who are shrinking their loan balances.

Scott-Clayton and Li's finding that a quarter of African American graduates students are enrolled in for-profit colleges is also alarming. We know for-profit colleges charge more than  public institutions and have higher default rates and dropout rates. It should disturb us to learn that blacks are three times more likely than whites to be lured into for-profit graduate programs.

Income-Based Repayment Plans do not alleviate the high level of student indebtedness among African Americans

The Obama administration and the higher education community tout long-term income-based repayment plans (IBRPs) as the way to alleviate the suffering caused by crushing levels of student debt. But as Scott-Clayton and Li correctly point out, new repayment options such as  REPAYE "may alleviate the worst consequences of racial debt disparities," but they fail "to address the underlying causes."

Lowering monthly payments and extending the repayment period from 10 years to 20 or 25 years does not relieve African Americans from crushing levels of student debt. We've got to shut down the for-profit college sector to eliminate the risk that people will enroll in overpriced for-profit graduate programs that are often of low quality..And we've got to fundamentally reform the federal student-loan program so that African Americans and indeed all Americans can graduate from college without being burdened by unreasonably high levels of debt.


Judith Scott-Clayton and Jing Li. Black-white disparity in student loan debt more than triples after graduation. Evidence Speaks Reports, Vol. 2, #3, Brookings Institution, October 20, 2016. Available at

Monday, November 7, 2016

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Warns Student Borrowers: Paying Extra on Loans May Not Help You Pay Them Off Early

OK, let's assume for a few moments that you are a super responsible student-loan debtor who wants to pay off your college loans early and get on with your life.

And let's assume you have a few extra bucks at the end of the month and you want to make larger monthly payments on your student loans so you can reduce the principle faster and pay off your loan more quickly. That should work, right?

Maybe not. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a warning recently that some student borrowers who pay more than the minimum monthly payment on their loans may actually be extending the period of their indebtedness.  

According to the CFPB, some student borrowers have reported that their loan servicers are thwarting borrowers who try to pay off their loans early by making larger payments.. In fact, some servicers have constructed a loan collection system that penalizes people who may more than the minimum monthly payment.

How does this system work? In some cases, loan servicers have unilaterally lowered borrowers' minimum monthly payments, thereby extending these  borrowers' repayment period and the amount of interest that borrowers pay, and they have often done this without the borrowers' knowledge.

This arbitrary practice of resetting borrowers' monthly payment amounts is called "redisclosure," and the CFPB warns borrowers that they could trigger redisclosure by making extra payments to pay their loans off sooner.

As CFPB's Mike Pierce explained:
When borrowers pay more than they owe, they expect to save money on interest charges and get out of debt faster. But the practice we highlighted can hold these borrowers back, making it harder and more expensive for student loan borrowers to pay back their loans and get out of debt.
Of course the practice of impeding college borrowers from paying off their loans early is outrageous and should be illegal. But CFPB places the responsibility on the borrower to avoid being duped. Here is CFPB's advice:

1) "Double check to make sure you're still on track to meet your goals." In other words, check to see if your servicer lowered your monthly loan payment without your knowledge.

 2) "Tell your servicer what to do with your extra money." Make sure the extra money goes to             paying down your loan with the highest interest rate and that extra money goes toward paying down principle.

3) If something doesn't look right, ask for help."

Of course, this is good advice, but wouldn't it be better if the CFPB simply required student-loan servicers to do business honestly and transparently? Shouldn't borrowers be able to pay off their student loans early by making extra payments? And shouldn't servicers be prohibited from changing payment terms without the borrower's permission or knowledge?


Tim Grant. Financial protection bureau concerned by some student loan servicers' practices. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 3, 2016.

.Seth Frotman. You have the right to pay off your student loan as fast as you can, without a penalty. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, September 26, 2016.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Psychological Costs of Student-Loan Debt: A Critique of Game of Loans by Beth Akers and Matthew Chingos

As I have pointed out more than once, several policy organizations argue tirelessly that worries about the nation's student-debt crisis are overblown. In particular, scholars at the the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution have repeatedly published articles that minimize the magnitude of what I have long called a crisis.

It is not surprising then that Beth Akers, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Matthew Chingos, a fellow at the Urban Institute, published a book recently called Game of Loans, that essentially argued that the federal student-loan program is basically sound and under control.

In my view, Akers and Chingos widely missed the mark regarding the student loan crisis. They did not misrepresent the data about this problem or say anything that is technically inaccurate. Rather, in my view, they seriously misinterpreted data that warn of a coming catastrophe.

I won't attempt to articulate all my criticisms of Game of Loans in this essay. Rather I will focus on one point that Akers and Chingos made in Chapter 5, where they admit that "education debt is having negative psychological impacts on borrowers" (p. 95).

Of course this is true.  As Kathryn Hancock explained in a 2009 law review article, "Studies have consistently found that socioeconomic status and debt-to-income ratios are strongly associated with poor mental health." Student loans, in particular, Hancock wrote, "can be a chronic strain on an individual's financial and emotional well-being." Indeed, "[t]he mere thought of having thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of debt can severely impact those with already fragile mental health, especially if they will carry that debt for the rest of their lives" (Hancock, 2009, 160-161, internal quotation marks omitted).

But what solutions do Akers and Chingos offer for this problem? Solution number one, they say, is to dial down the rhetoric about the student loan crisis.  We need "to change the tone of the public discourse on this issue," Akers and Chingos counsel. In their mind, the "hysterical treatment" of the student-loan problem has caused some borrowers to worry more about their student loans than they should.

And solution number two? Akers and Chingos suggest that the psychological costs of student indebtedness could be reduced by creative repayment plans, including income-driven repayment plans.

In essence, Akers and Chingos are aligned with the Obama administration when it comes to addressing the student-loan crisis. Let's pretend there is no crisis and shove more students into long-term repayment plans.

Thanks, Ms. Akers and Mr. Chingos. You've been a big help.


Beth Akers and Matthew Chingos. Game of Loans: The Rhetoric and Reality of Student Debt. (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2016).

Katheryn E. Hancock, "A Certainty of Hopelessness, Depression, and The Discharge of Student Loans Under the Bankruptcy Code," 33 Law & Psychology Review 151, 160-161 (2009) (internal citations and internal quotation marks omitted). psychology