Key Coverage

Student Loan Debt Crisis

Almost every American knows an adult burdened by a student loan. Fewer know that growing alongside 42 million indebted students is a formidable private industry that has been enriched by those very loans.

A generation ago, the federal government opened its student loan bank to profit-making corporations. Private-equity companies and Wall Street banks seized on the flow of federal loan dollars, peddling loans students sometimes could not afford and then collecting fees from the government to hound students when they defaulted.

Step by step, one law after another has been enacted by Congress to make student debt the worst kind of debt for Americans—and the best kind for banks and debt collectors.

Today, just about everyone involved in the student loan industry makes money off of the students—the banks, private investors, even the federal government.