Student Debt Fact Sheet


  • Speaking Truth to Power

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  • The Sanders Institute Talks: Student Loan Debt

    Dr. Jane O'Meara Sanders sits down with Sanders Institute Founding Fellow and economist Dr. Stephanie Kelton to talk about Dr. Kelton's new report on the macroeconomic effects of student loan debt cancellation in the United States.

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  • The Macroeconomic Effects of Student Debt Cancellation

    Among the more ambitious policies that have been proposed to address the problem of escalating student loan debt are various forms of debt cancellation. In this report, Scott Fullwiler, Research Associate Stephanie Kelton, Catherine Ruetschlin, and Marshall Steinbaum examine the likely macroeconomic impacts of a one-time, federally funded cancellation of all outstanding student debt.

    The report analyzes households’ mounting reliance on debt to finance higher education, including the distributive implications of student debt and debt cancellation; describes the financial mechanics required to carry out the cancellation of debt held by the Department of Education (which makes up the vast majority of student loans outstanding) as well as privately owned student debt; and uses two macroeconometric models to provide a plausible range for the likely impacts of student debt cancellation on key economic variables over a 10-year horizon.

    The authors find that cancellation would have a meaningful stimulus effect, characterized by greater economic activity as measured by GDP and employment, with only moderate effects on the federal budget deficit, interest rates, and inflation (while state budgets improve). These results suggest that policies like student debt cancellation can be a viable part of a needed reorientation of US higher education policy.

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  • The West's Broken Promises on Education Aid

    The Global Partnership for Education, a worthy and capable initiative to promote education in 65 low-income countries, is begging for funds. The fact that it must do so - and for a paltry $1 billion per year, at that – exposes the charade of the US and European commitment to education for all.

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  • Remarks at the Ethics in Action Conference at The Vatican

    As we read in many papers that were distributed over the last weeks, and heard in many presentations yesterday, education begins even before birth, with the early years being the most important years of our cognitive and emotional growth. The advances in neuroscience have intrigued me so much that I've imagined a vastly different approach to learning throughout our system.

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  • Declaration of the Ethics in Action Meeting on Education

    In October of 2017 the Ethics in Action Conference at the Vatican released this "Declaration of the Ethics in Action Meeting on Education."

    It summarizes the thoughts and findings of the conference as well as specific commitments from the participants on SDG 4 - education. It states that "Education is both a fundamental need and right of all children" and therefore, it is the duty and responsibility of those with means and ability to further the education of all children, especially those at the bottom of the income distribution. 

    The declaration states the amount of spending and support that would be required to further this goal. "To achieve quality education for all children, the incremental international funds needed are very modest, roughly $40 billion per year, or 0.1% of the national income of the high-income countries. Yet even such modest flows can do much to ensure a more peaceful, harmonious and productive world."

    Education, however, does not happen in a vacuum. Therefore, the declaration calls on parents, teachers, countries, corporations, and universities to all commit to this endeavor. 

    Ultimately, it argues that "We need an educational system that promotes a fair, inclusive and sustainable world-without slavery and exclusion, where we take care of our common home, and where all have access to land, housing, work, education, and the foundations of a dignified life."

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  • The Importance of Civil Discourse

    Last week I became the Chair of The Sanders Institute (TSI), an initiative that grew out of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign of 2016. While as a sitting senator, Sanders cannot be involved in the work of TSI, we are committed to elevating the issues on which he based his run for the White House.

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