According to the US Department of Education, 45 million Americans collectively owe $1.7 billion in total student loan debt. While the weight of student loans has increased substantially in the 21st century, the history of student debt and the institutions that facilitate it is a much longer story than you probably expect. Ellie Shermer joins us to talk about her new book Indentured Students: How Government-Guaranteed Loans Left Generations Drowning in Debt (Harvard, 2021), why student debt may be bad for all of us, and what we might do to alleviate student debt and fix higher education moving forward.
Dr. Elizabeth Tandy Shermer is Associate Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago. Her previous books include Sunbelt Capitalism: Phoenix and the Transformation of American Politics (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015). You can follow her on twitter at @ETShermer.
This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.