In Depth: The Student Loan Crisis

Segment One: Alan Collinge, the founder of Student Loan Justice, joins Hal to talk about the growing problem of student loans in the United States

Collinge says one big problem is that student loans have been stripped of almost all consumer protections. He says not only are student loans not wiped out by bankruptcy, they also lack fair debt collection systems and truth coverage in loan laws. He calls student loans “particularly predatory.”

He said the college was more federally subsidized in the past. He says the federal government currently earns more than $100 billion a year in interest on these loans alone.

He says bankruptcy rights must be returned to borrowers to give them some leverage.

Segment Two: Lisa Ansell of the USC Casden Institute is also president of the California Chapter of Student Loan Justice. She talks to Hal about the impact of student loans on California students. She says chapters foster activism to encourage elected leaders to make student loans fairer. Ansell talks about his personal experience with student debt and how those debts were ultimately forgiven by the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. This program is available to those who have worked for ten years in the civil service, but she says there is a high degree of rejection from applicants.

Third segment: Dr. Liz Maines is a psychotherapist and she finds herself paralyzed by student debt. She tells Hal that her accumulated student debt, for both graduate and undergraduate degrees, will likely follow her into retirement. She now owes more on the loan than the original loan amount, despite having paid it off for decades.

Maines says many professionals would have enough income to easily pay off their student loans, but that’s not the case. She says there is a lot of embarrassment about the level of student debt that professionals carry and that this debt prevents people from moving on with their lives.

Segment Four: Hal promotes his podcast and we end with footage of a massive thunderstorm in Scotland, to promote an upcoming show about lightning.

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