Summary of Is a Student Loan Crisis on the Horizon?

Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings,

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Is a Student Loan Crisis on the Horizon? summary
Student loan debt has skyrocketed in recent years. But is the problem as grim as many suggest?


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Media reports suggest that mounting student debt in the United States signals a potential crisis that could slow consumer spending and threaten economic growth. Yet despite higher loan balances and more student borrowers, education policy researchers Beth Akers and Matthew M. Chingos say that the monetary benefits of a college education still significantly outweigh the costs of student debt. Though its conclusions may seem a bit too optimistic to those facing years of college loan repayments, getAbstract suggests this informative study to students and families.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why student debt grew in the United States between 1989 and 2010, and
  • Why the increase may not be as onerous as it first appears.


Media reports about the high cost of college and individuals saddled with six-figure student loans lead to questions about whether the United States is headed for a student debt crisis marked by widespread defaults, taxpayer bailouts and slowing economic growth. While the cost of university education...
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About the Authors

Beth Akers and Matthew M. Chingos are fellows at the Brown Center on Educational Policy at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit independent research organization.

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