42 million people owe $1.3 trillion in student debt. It’s a profit center for Wall Street and the government. Here’s how we got into this mess. ….
…. A generation ago, Congress privatized a student loan program intended to give more Americans access to higher education. In its place, lawmakers created another profit center for Wall Street and a system of college finance that has fed the nation’s cycle of inequality. Step by step, Congress has enacted one law after another to make student debt the worst kind of debt for Americans – and the best kind for banks and debt collectors. Today, just about everyone involved in the student loan industry makes money off students – the banks, private investors, even the federal government. ….
‘I’m A Student-Debt Slave.’ How’d We Get Here?
Source: Eric Westervelt, NPR, July 11, 2016
Most everyone knows someone adversely affected by student debt: More than 40 million Americans are shouldering a crippling $1.3 trillion in loans.
That burden is obstructing careers, families, dreams, employment and even retirement. Uncle Sam and Wall Street have made lots of money off the crisis.
We’ve covered this issue in many ways, including the debates, the players, tips for easing debt, how debt is affecting young people’s decision making and a lot more.
But how did we get here? Who has profited most and how?
The Center for Investigative Reporting and its weekly radio show Reveal recently dug deep into these questions and profiled people who’ve been affected. I reached out to CIR reporter Lance Williams, who co-investigated the story with journalist James B. Steel. Here’s an excerpt of our conversation…..