Paying the Price Podcast

July 14, 2015

Once seen as the Great Equalizer, the value of higher education in the era of soaring college debt has come into serious question.

In their new book, The Real College Debt Crisis: How Student Borrowing Threatens Financial Well-Being and Erodes the American Dream, William Elliott III and Melinda K. Lewis argue that our current system of financial assistance is failing the very students it's intended to serve. For many students, even crippling student debt seems a small price to pay for a college degree that leads them to a more prosperous life. But, in reality, low-income students who wholly rely on this system are hit the hardest, while students from more affluent families emerge unscathed. The Great Equalizer, then, is becoming a Great Reinforcer of growing inequality and widening income and wealth gaps.

Rather than patching up the student debt system, can we pay for college in a way that lives up to America's ideals? Can we reduce inequality and reward effort and talent, instead of conferred advantage? Can early investment in all children become an American cornerstone?

Join New America NYC and New America's Asset Building Program for a discussion about the state of education, making it in America, and the new ideas we'll need to ensure students don't graduate from college worse off than when they began.