Fixing student loans: let's give the colleges some skin in the game

Article Highlights

  • Due to the guarantees by the gov't, will #student #loans create something similar to the #housing #bubble ?

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  • Colleges should place some of the risk of loans on themselves before placing them on #taxpayers

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  • "Skin in the game": If the originator retains some #credit risk, we can control excess #debt expansion

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There are provocative parallels between student loans and the mortgages that created the disastrous housing bubble. In both cases, the government promoted plausible goals- higher education and home ownership-to excess, through the overexpansion of debt to levels beyond the repayment ability of a large percentage of borrowers. In both cases, the government guaranteed much of the credit, putting the ultimate risk of bad debts on taxpayers. In both cases, debt expansion drove the price of the object being financed (colleges and houses) to heights sustainable only if debt could always be increasing. In mortgages, it could not, and the subsequent collapse raises the question: will there be a similar outcome with student loans?

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Alex J. Pollock is a resident fellow at AEI

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About the Author

 

Alex J.
Pollock
  • Alex J. Pollock is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies and writes about housing finance; government-sponsored enterprises, including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks; retirement finance; and banking and central banks. He also works on corporate governance and accounting standards issues.


    Pollock has had a 35-year career in banking and was president and CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago for more than 12 years immediately before joining AEI. A prolific writer, he has written numerous articles on financial systems and is the author of the book “Boom and Bust: Financial Cycles and Human Prosperity” (AEI Press, 2011). He has also created a one-page mortgage form to help borrowers understand their mortgage obligations.


    The lead director of CME Group, Pollock is also a director of the Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and the chairman of the board of the Great Books Foundation. He is a past president of the International Union for Housing Finance.


    He has an M.P.A. in international relations from Princeton University, an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Chicago, and a B.A. from Williams College.


  • Phone: 202.862.7190
    Email: apollock@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Emily Rapp
    Phone: (202) 419-5212
    Email: emily.rapp@aei.org

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