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Speaker series to link student debt, poor financial outcomes in later life

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas School of Social Welfare and Assets and Education Initiative will present "Rethinking the American Dream: Education, Student Debt and Asset Building" from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in Alderson Auditorium of the Kansas Union. The event is the second in a series on connections among poverty, assets and the American Dream. KU and national scholars will speak, and a panel discussion will connect student debt to financial outcomes in later life.

Speakers include:

  • Introduction: Stephen J. Rose, research professor and senior economist, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
  • Keynote speech : William Elliott III, director, Assets and Education Initiative, KU
  • Panel discussion – Robert Hiltonsmith, policy analyst, demos; Laura Kelly, Kansas state senator; Melinda Lewis, policy director, Assets and Education Initiative, University of Kansas (moderator).

Keynote speaker Elliott will discuss his and Lewis’ new report, which synthesizes decades of research that connects student debt to poor financial outcomes during and after college. Students with debt have 41 percent less home equity and less than half as much saved for retirement, than those without, when controlling for other factors. On the other hand, low- and moderate-income students with even small savings for college are several times more likely to graduate and become self-sufficient adults. Elliott’s talk, and a panel discussion following, will show how rapidly increasing student borrowing may threaten the financial progress and social mobility of a generation of young people. Elliott will also be speaking at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis on Monday, Nov. 18, at its symposium, “Generation Debt: The Promise, Perils and Future of Student Loans."

The event, co-sponsored by the School of Social Welfare, the Assets and Education Initiative, the Office of the Provost and the KU Social Work Administration and Advocacy Practice, will include an introduction to the topic, keynote address, panel discussion and an audience question-and-answer session.

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