Once seen as the Great Equalizer, the value of higher education in the era of soaring college debt has come into serious question. To discuss these issues, the Asset Building Program at New America hosted The Real College Debt Crisis on Wednesday, July 15th. Below are video highlights from the event. Click here to watch the entire event.
In their new book, The Real College Debt Crisis: How Student Borrowing Threatens Financial Well-Being and Erodes the American Dream, authors William Elliott III and Melinda Lewis argue that our current system of financial assistance imposes debt on vulnerable students in exchange for the promise of a college degree that may never materialize. Ultimately, the greatest costs are borne by the low-income students who must rely on this system, while students from more affluent families emerge unscathed. As a result, the Great Equalizer is becoming the Great Reinforcer.
Rather than patching the student debt system, The Real College Debt Crisis proposes striving for a college preparation and finance mechanism that helps America live up to her ideals. By shifting from a debt-based model to an assets and investment based model, the authors suggest that our nation can build a system that rewards effort and talent and reduces inequality.