The student loan program today serves industry insiders over its core stakeholder: students. The government justifies bailing out these other participants—lenders, servicers, debt collectors, and even colleges—as being in the best interests of students, student loan borrowers, and taxpayers. These claims, however, do not hold up.
In Who Pays? How Industry Insiders Rig the Student Loan System—And How to Stop It, Roosevelt Fellow Julie Margetta Morgan explains how powerful industry players have succeeded in taking what they need from the student loan system while justifying their extractive actions as being what is best for the public and for students. Though today’s student loan crisis is in many ways another consequence of the soft corruption within our government by those who can buy influence, it also points to a key vulnerability for the policy and advocacy community.
The student loan program operates according to a certain set of norms and guidelines about what is best for the public and for students, but research increasingly suggests that these norms are fundamentally flawed. To combat corruption and pave the way for better policymaking, Margetta Morgan argues that advocates and researchers need to not only change the rules of the system, but that it is also critical that we change the way we think about the system, too