In Depth: Student Loan Crisis

Segment One: Alan Collinge, the founder of Student Loan Justice, joins Hal to talk about the growing problem of student loans in the U.S.

Collinge says one of the big problems is that student loans have been stripped of almost all consumer protections.  He says not only are student loans not eliminated by bankruptcy, but they also don’t have fair debt collection systems or coverage by truth in lending laws.  He calls student loans "uniquely predatory."

He said college used to be more federally subsidized in the past.   He says the federal government currently gains more than 100 billion dollars a year in interest alone on these loans.

He says that bankruptcy rights must be returned to borrowers to give those borrowers some leverage.

Segment Two: Lisa Ansell with the USC Casden Institute is also the California Chapter President of Student Loan Justice. She talks to Hal about the impact of student loans on California students.  She says the chapters encourage activism to encourage elected leaders to make student loans fairer.  Ansell talks about her personal experience with student debt and how those debts were finally canceled by the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.  That program is available to those who work for ten years in public service, but she says there is a high degree of rejection for applicants.

Segment Three: Dr. Liz Maines is a psychotherapist and she finds herself crippled by student loan debt.  She tells Hal that her cumulative student loan debt, for both graduate and undergraduate degrees, is likely to follow her into retirement.  She now owes more on the loan than the original amount of the loan, despite paying on it for decades.

Maines says that many professionals are believed to have high enough incomes to easily pay off their student loans, but that is not the case.  She says there is a lot of embarrassment over the level of student debt that professionals are carrying and that that debt is keeping people from moving on with their lives.

Segment Four: Hal promotes his podcast and we end with visuals from a massive lightning storm in Scotland, to promote an upcoming show on lightning.