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Research Symposium at Suffolk Law on Student Loans

posted by Nathalie Martin

Suffolk Law School and the National Consumer Law Center are convening a Research Symposium on Student Loans in Boston on April 10th and 11th.  The goal of the Symposium, which is invitation-only, is to bring together the nation’s top experts, including academics, attorneys, industry representatives, consumer advocates, and government officials, to discuss research and policy related to student loans. We invite paper proposals that are empirical, qualitative, theoretical or policy-oriented.  Topics of particular interest are:

The Impact of high levels of student debt

Impact of debt on individuals

Impact of  student loan debt on the economy, e.g. housing markets and  consumer spending

Government loans

Evaluation of the public policy issues surrounding student loans, e.g. the debate whether the  government should profit from student loans

The role of private sector entities, e.g. collection agencies, in government-sponsored student lending

Private student loans     

Consumer protection issues that can arise prior to and at origination, including extant legal claims and available relief, and an assessment of the need for further protections

Forward-looking predictions of the contours of a newly-structured private student loan market

Analysis of the secondary market for student loans, including the structure of securitizations, the incentives motivating various entities, the role of rating agencies, deal structures, risk, and performance metrics

Default and Collection

Evaluating collection practices, policies, and costs for government loans 

Consumer protection issues that arise in servicing and collection

Alleviating Debt

Assessing debt forgiveness programs-- public interest debt forgiveness and income- based repayment, including the incentives the programs create and the long-term efficiency of the programs

Understanding the role of bankruptcy and student loan debt


Extant and proposed innovations in debt servicing and alleviating debt

The history and potential for loan modifications, ideally with reference to the experience with home mortgage loan modifications

The future: student loans as the default option for higher education

Financing higher education in the future

The relationship between student debt and access to higher education

Policy responses to alleviating the cost of higher education

The state of the knowledge about student lending

 An assessment of data on student lending, including the sources of data, the accessibility of the data, the information that is gathered

Description of the kinds of answers existing data can give us and critical gaps in the data.

Identification of areas in which further research is needed

Presenters will have their reasonable travel expenses covered.

PAPER SUBMISSION:  Paper proposals are due by December 1, 2013.  Papers do not have to be completed by the proposal submission date.  Abstracts are sufficient although we welcome drafts or completed papers.  Authors will be notified whether their paper proposals are selected by January 15, 2014.  Please send proposals electronically to Kathleen Engel ([email protected]).  We recognize that presenters may not be able to have their papers in final form by the conference date; however, we need drafts that can be distributed to participants by April 1. 
Some authors will be invited to publish their papers in a symposium volume of the Suffolk Law Review.



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