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Game of Loans: The Rhetoric and Reality of Student Debt

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Why fears about a looming student loan crisis are unfounded--and how they obscure what's really wrong with student lending College tuition and student debt levels have been rising at an alarming pace for at least two decades. These trends, coupled with an economy weakened by a major recession, have raised serious questions about whether we are headed for a major crisis, wit Why fears about a looming student loan crisis are unfounded--and how they obscure what's really wrong with student lending College tuition and student debt levels have been rising at an alarming pace for at least two decades. These trends, coupled with an economy weakened by a major recession, have raised serious questions about whether we are headed for a major crisis, with borrowers defaulting on their loans in unprecedented numbers and taxpayers being forced to foot the bill. Game of Loans draws on new evidence to explain why such fears are misplaced--and how the popular myth of a looming crisis has obscured the real problems facing student lending in America. Bringing needed clarity to an issue that concerns all of us, Beth Akers and Matthew Chingos cut through the sensationalism and misleading rhetoric to make the compelling case that college remains a good investment for most students. They show how, in fact, typical borrowers face affordable debt burdens, and argue that the truly serious cases of financial hardship portrayed in the media are less common than the popular narrative would have us believe. But there are more troubling problems with student loans that don't receive the same attention. They include high rates of avoidable defaults by students who take on loans but don't finish college--the riskiest segment of borrowers--and a dysfunctional market where competition among colleges drives tuition costs up instead of down. Persuasive and compelling, Game of Loans moves beyond the emotionally charged and politicized talk surrounding student debt, and offers a set of sensible policy proposals that can solve the real problems in student lending.


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Why fears about a looming student loan crisis are unfounded--and how they obscure what's really wrong with student lending College tuition and student debt levels have been rising at an alarming pace for at least two decades. These trends, coupled with an economy weakened by a major recession, have raised serious questions about whether we are headed for a major crisis, wit Why fears about a looming student loan crisis are unfounded--and how they obscure what's really wrong with student lending College tuition and student debt levels have been rising at an alarming pace for at least two decades. These trends, coupled with an economy weakened by a major recession, have raised serious questions about whether we are headed for a major crisis, with borrowers defaulting on their loans in unprecedented numbers and taxpayers being forced to foot the bill. Game of Loans draws on new evidence to explain why such fears are misplaced--and how the popular myth of a looming crisis has obscured the real problems facing student lending in America. Bringing needed clarity to an issue that concerns all of us, Beth Akers and Matthew Chingos cut through the sensationalism and misleading rhetoric to make the compelling case that college remains a good investment for most students. They show how, in fact, typical borrowers face affordable debt burdens, and argue that the truly serious cases of financial hardship portrayed in the media are less common than the popular narrative would have us believe. But there are more troubling problems with student loans that don't receive the same attention. They include high rates of avoidable defaults by students who take on loans but don't finish college--the riskiest segment of borrowers--and a dysfunctional market where competition among colleges drives tuition costs up instead of down. Persuasive and compelling, Game of Loans moves beyond the emotionally charged and politicized talk surrounding student debt, and offers a set of sensible policy proposals that can solve the real problems in student lending.

30 review for Game of Loans: The Rhetoric and Reality of Student Debt

  1. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    This is a thoughtful dive into understanding student lending and repayment trends. I appreciate the lucid, data-driven approach to addressing a polarizing topic. I have since read some interesting rebuttals to some of the points around payment-to-income ratios that were compelling, so I would urge reading this prepared to dig a little deeper for counter arguments. But I really like the way this book summarized and communicated a more elevated and insightful analysis of the topic.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Pandaduh

    So, this book made me feel really comfortable with my decisions to take out my student loans. I have a lot of student loan debt, am on an IDR plan, and am in the PSLF program. I am not so sure I recommend the PSLF program (see this thread of seven posts, which you can navigate to from the page), but I do recommend taking out loans if you need to. And this book backs me up. There is a lot of fear surrounding them. I say that no, it’s not as complicated as you think. And you have to be really, rea So, this book made me feel really comfortable with my decisions to take out my student loans. I have a lot of student loan debt, am on an IDR plan, and am in the PSLF program. I am not so sure I recommend the PSLF program (see this thread of seven posts, which you can navigate to from the page), but I do recommend taking out loans if you need to. And this book backs me up. There is a lot of fear surrounding them. I say that no, it’s not as complicated as you think. And you have to be really, really stupid or uniformed to screw it up. Read the rest of my review here: https://blackandwhitepandaduh.wordpre...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Juan Carlos

    Un excelente libro para entender a profundidad la “burbuja” de los créditos estudiantiles en EEUU Recomiendo 100% a futuros estudiantes americanos y latinoamericanos en leer este libro. La tendencia de los préstamos a estudiantes es un fenómeno que se tiene que conocer a nivel macroeconómico. Es una realidad que México y muchos países latinoamericanos no viven este problema, debido a muchos factores que no se encuentran en el ecosistema laborar americano, pero no obstante es algo que forzosament Un excelente libro para entender a profundidad la “burbuja” de los créditos estudiantiles en EEUU Recomiendo 100% a futuros estudiantes americanos y latinoamericanos en leer este libro. La tendencia de los préstamos a estudiantes es un fenómeno que se tiene que conocer a nivel macroeconómico. Es una realidad que México y muchos países latinoamericanos no viven este problema, debido a muchos factores que no se encuentran en el ecosistema laborar americano, pero no obstante es algo que forzosamente debemos conocer por el impacto que tiene sobre la economía mundial. Muy buena manera de la autora de explicar tremenda problemática en estas hojas. Desde la historia, casos generales, problemáticas políticas y soluciones.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Starkey

    As someone with significant student loan debt (or a "statistically marginal outlier"), I found this book both boring and insulting. Expect several chapters of dry statistics, a wrap up of completely out-there policy proposals, and a complete lack of humanity. As someone with significant student loan debt (or a "statistically marginal outlier"), I found this book both boring and insulting. Expect several chapters of dry statistics, a wrap up of completely out-there policy proposals, and a complete lack of humanity.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Quazzo

    An excellent and straightforward book about the US student loan situation. Beth Akers avoids hyperbolic claims and sticks with the facts to point to key issues but undermining the overall “crisis” theme that dominates the media.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Darren

    College tuition fees and high levels of student debt in the United States is a growing concern for many and even news of this has spread around the world. It is by no means a problem exclusive to the U.S., yet it does seem to set a gold standard for fees and debt, in part due to its size but maybe also due to structural and other issues. So this was a fascinating, informative and timely book that looks at the entire problem of tuition fees and student debt levels from a U.S. perspective, without College tuition fees and high levels of student debt in the United States is a growing concern for many and even news of this has spread around the world. It is by no means a problem exclusive to the U.S., yet it does seem to set a gold standard for fees and debt, in part due to its size but maybe also due to structural and other issues. So this was a fascinating, informative and timely book that looks at the entire problem of tuition fees and student debt levels from a U.S. perspective, without becoming politically partisan or shouty in the process. Concerns exist about a future student debt crisis and mass default, yet the authors believe that this is unfounded, admitting at the same time that other problems do exist such as a “dysfunctional market” where competition among colleges drives tuition costs up instead of down and how students load up with debt but don’t complete their studies for various reasons. A number of policy proposals are given that the authors believe could solve the issues around student lending. Some of the reforms might not be earth-shattering but require a change in current-day thinking and a slightly more hands-on, proactive approach that might chide against perceived all-American freedoms and rights. There is a lot of detail, at times it can feel a little too overwhelming, as well as a mass of references and further reading suggestions. Nonetheless it was a great diversion for a curious generalist with one foot in the (non U.S.) educational camp. For someone who has more skin in the game it could be necessary reading. It is a lot more than just a narrowly focussed education/politics-type book; it covers economics, the media, society and much more! Autamme.com

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Sacrey

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brianne

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marc Shefelton

  10. 5 out of 5

    Stacy Ross

  11. 4 out of 5

    John Maier

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lindley

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kruttika Gopal

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kanler

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jessie Ashton

  16. 4 out of 5

    Taylor P

  17. 5 out of 5

    Taymour Siddiqui

  18. 4 out of 5

    Max

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kevin M Tyler

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bob Miller

  21. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Rogers

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  24. 5 out of 5

    Keytelynne

  25. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Morris

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mo

  28. 4 out of 5

    Brian Denten

  29. 4 out of 5

    Erin Michalik Klarer

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

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