Gambling With American Futures: How Does The United States Student Loan Industry Hurt The People It Was Designed To Help?

Abstract

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the topic of student debt has become front-of-mind for many Americans, as they struggle to repay their student loans while also keeping food on the table. It has also been a topic on the forefront of American politics, as politicians debate the ways to address and remediate the current United States Student Debt Crisis. Today, over 44.7 million student borrowers hold outstanding student loans, and the total outstanding debt surpasses $1.7 trillion.  This thesis aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the United States Student Debt Crisis. It provides a thorough overview of the student loan industry and details the industry’s creation and changes over time. It then analyzes the current state of student debt in America. Next, this thesis analyzes the crisis from an ethical perspective, highlighting some of the implications that borrowers face at the hand of their student loans. Finally, the thesis aims to expose aspects of the student loan industry that raise ethical red flags. The purpose of this thesis is to provide ethical support to arguments in favor of reforming the United States student loan industry. This thesis will not propose an explicit solution to the Student Debt Crisis. It will bring to light important evidence to support the need for immediate remediation of the industry. This industry was designed with the intention of helping the American people. Today, however, it cannot help the greater population without also harming many Americans. So, how does the United States student loan industry hurt the people it was designed to help? This is the question that this thesis aims to answer.

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