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Proposal: Lower Student Debt Defaults with Income-Based Payment

Chances are you or someone you know shares a part of the $1.3 trillion
student loan debt in this country.The weight of that debt and the high costs of college hampers upward social mobility and this country's ability to compete internationally. Providing better and earlier information about college costs and financial aid information, and holding educational institutions accountable for the debt held by their students, will help future borrowers make more informed decisions and take on less debt.

The Issue

Problem Defined

A college education has been more expensive than ever and is becoming out of reach to more and more families.

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College is more expensive than everMORE

The cost of a public college education has more than tripled over the
past thirty years and the average debt at graduation is $34,000.

Students and families lack timely and clear financial aid informationMORE

The financial aid process is confusing and misaligned with the need for would be college students and their families.

Student Loan Debt Peaked at 14.7%MORE

Though the increase in  default rate is due in part to the higher number of students enrolling each year, the rate shows how outdated the repayment system is because it does not work well for more and more students each year.

Go deeper

Michael Fitzgerald is a senior at a Specialized High School in New York City. Born and raised in the Big Apple, Fitzgerald has been fond of learning about different culture. He has been an advocate of affordable and accessible healthcare, and free college tuition for all.

Michael Fitzgerald

High school senior worrying about paying for college.

The Solution

Proposed Actions
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Increase Regulation of Private Student LoansMORE

Having student loans that are absolvable through bankruptcy would reduce the power loan providers and provide more protections for students. Heightening regulation of private lenders in other aspects can further eliminate the size of student loan debt in this country.

Income-based Repayment SystemMORE

Having an income-based repayment system would keep loan payments bearable and prevent loan defaults. These income-based payments would be a certain percentage of the monthly income, similar to how Social Security is deducted.

Reduce Government Subsidies on Loan Interest and ForgivenessMORE

These subsidies inject large sums of money on the wrong aspect of the problem. Instead, subsidies should focus on tuition subsidies to prevent student loan debt from accruing too heavily in the first place.

Expected Results
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The institution  of an income-based loan repayment model would alter the system's financial accommodation from private interests to the interest of the bulk of our nation's students. By significantly reducing the amount of defaults on federal loans, our government will effectively regain the money it puts at risk for current college student, and students will not face financial ruin by defaulting on a moderate amount of debt.

The Conversation

Sally Moore
High School Senior
2 years ago
As a high school student paying for college is a major concern of mine. My dream school is a private university, but I am not sure if I want to have huge debt when I graduate. I do not want to have to sacrifice my dreams because college is too expensive.
James Pew
2 years ago
What do expect to be some long-term results of this policy? For example, would it affect enrollment and dropout rates for college in the U.S.? What kind of downstream effect would changes in those rates have?
2 years ago
My friends are really worried about how they're going to be able to repay their student loans. A lot of my friends read their financial aid statements and are wondering whether they should stay at their schools or transfer.
Deborah Devedjian
Founder & Chief Citizens' Officer
2 years ago
What % of income would you suggest withdrawing? Could you provide some scenarios of how this would affect a young professional's standard monthly budget? Maybe 2%, 5%, 10%, 15% and 20%?

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