Dr. William Elliott (Associate Professor and Director of the School’s Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion) authored The Real College Debt Crisis: How Student Borrowing Threatens Financial Well-Being and Erodes the American Dream with Melinda Lewis, released in July 2015. The book provides a new framework for evaluating the financial aid system in America, positing that aid must not only allow access to higher education, but also facilitate upward mobility. This book presents penetrating new information about the fiscal realities of debt-dependent financing and raises tough questions about the extent to which student loans can be a viable way to facilitate equitable access to higher education and to the economic gains that education is supposed to secure. Elliott and Lewis use their own contrasting life stories to provide invaluable insight into the student debt problem and help make the complex data more understandable. The Real College Debt Crisis does not just assess the disadvantages faced by those who have to borrow to attend college, however, but also presents Children’s Savings Accounts as alternative models of financial aid, better aligned with our American Dream. As examined in this work, asset-empowered financial aid is a more potent lever for children's educational attainment and economic well-being, before, during, and after college.
Imagine what your financial life would be like if you didn't have a basic bank or savings account. How would you manage the logistics of cashing your paycheck and paying your rent or mortgage? How would you pay your utility or car insurance bills? Millions of households in the United States must manage these logistics on a daily basis because they do not have an account at a bank or credit union. Millions of other households have an account, but there's not enough money in it to prevent them from using expensive payday lenders and other alternative financial services. Disproportionately, households without access to an account are lower-income or headed by racial or ethnic minorities.
Find out how to purchase the book, listen to radio interview, read reviews and much more on the Center for Assets, Education, and Inclusion website.