Monday, June 12, 2006

Debt was the Cover Story

Of the New York Times Magazine yesterday. I was quoted in the article on student loan debt, by Jon Gertner.

"It's not about whether these policies are stopping these people from applying to college, though there is some evidence that they are," Kamenetz, a 2002 Yale graduate, says of the rising borrowing rates. "It's whether they're fair, whether they represent our ideals as a society and whether in the long term they're effective as compared to the policies of other countries that are pulling ahead of us."

Wise words from Elizabeth Warren: "Warren is convinced that rising levels of undergraduate debt have diminished the potential — long taken for granted — of a four-year degree to deliver someone into the middle class. "We tend to talk about student loans in the abstract, 'Ten or twenty thousand dollars — it's not that much,"' she explains. "But I think it's really about what it means to be 28 and try to make loan payments and health insurance premiums and still put something aside for a down payment for a house. Think about how much extra room you have to have in your budget to cover those three things. Most can't do it."

I also found this ironic: While [Susan Dynarski] agrees that student borrowing has risen steadily, she counters that critics like Kamenetz need to put that debt into perspective: "Credit card debt is up, car debt is up, people are spending more," she says. "Among all of those sources of debt, a college education is one of the best reasons to go into debt."

I doubt Professor Dynarski was actually addressing this point to me directly, because when we met she told me she had read & enjoyed my book. Because the whole point of Generation Debt is precisely to put student loan debt into "perspective" alongside the debt that is engulfing our entire society. And that's exactly what this article, in the context of this issue, does.

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