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Student Lending

posted by Katie Porter

As Prof. Nathalie Martin noted, the ABI has an upcoming conference on student loans. For those more interested in policy than straight up bankruptcy law, the St. Louis Federal Reserve will host a one day conference on the state of student loans in America on November 18. The conference, “Generation Debt: The Promise, Perils and Future of Student Loans,” comes on the heels of a report issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau outlining the similarities between the student loan crisis and the recent financial meltdown. The Fed's involvement as a leading research institution--on student lending is great news.

Policy makers, academics and students (young adults) need frank and honest discussions about education finance. But young people’s economic vulnerability in this country is about much more than student loans; this generation faces critical junctures as they secure jobs (or not), marry and form families (or not) and pursue and pay for higher education (or not). The Fed's conference will hopefully offer a more multi-dimensional view into young adults and their financially fragile status than many of the high-profile articles that focus singularly on the role of student loan debt.

Registration for the conference is inexpensive, with a nominal fee for students (which I think it great!). The Fed's key note speaker, Rohit Chopra (CFPB) has written extensively about the harm done to the economy by excessive student loan debt, and as author of the aforementioned report, promises to deliver insights beyond the traditional dialogue about how much debt students have and put student lending in larger perspective as a major financial industry. The conversation needs on student loans needs to be situated broadly among concern about asset building, rebuilding the mortgage markets, and financial literacy--as well as macroeconomic effects of student loan credit market.

Special thanks to Anne Schwichtenberg, sociology PhD student at UC Irvine, for contributions to this post.

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