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  • Lila Thomas

Unlocking the American Dream: Student Debt Solutions for Our Future Workforce

Updated: Oct 21, 2019

Executive Summary: The Far-Reaching Impact of Student Debt

A huge increase in student debt over the past two decades is affecting and disrupting American lives both financially and psychologically.

Some 43 million Americans owed $1.4 trillion in student debt at the end of 2018, an average of $33,500 per borrower. That was more than all other non-mortgage forms of consumer credit in the U.S. Individuals must pay these crippling sums back in post-tax dollars when they can least afford it, when they are trying to get their careers and their adult lives off the ground.

What to do about this growing pile of debt? Economists and media pundits tend to undersell the impact on a cross-section of Americans. Politicians routinely offer blanket statements and silver-bullet solutions. But these initiatives rarely take into account the real-world impact of student debt on individuals and their families. They barely scratch the surface of the problem.

Moreover, policy discussions fail to fully leverage the role and responsibility of other stakeholders, especially employers heavily reliant on the post-secondary education system for a diverse, educated, and well-trained workforce.

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