he student loan crisis is a serious problem in America. The average student will graduate with $37,172 in debt and the total outstanding student loan debt in America has surpassed $1.5 trillion. According to a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, total student loans in America have exceeded credit card and auto loans. But where do you start? What books should you read to learn more about this? We’ve compiled a list of resources that we think will help you understand the problem and what can be done to fix it.
Best Books on Student Loan Crisis: THE LIST
1.The Debt Trap | By Josh Mitchell
From acclaimed Wall Street Journal reporter Josh Mitchell, the “devastating account” (The Wall Street Journal) of student debt in America.
In 1981, a new executive at Sallie Mae took home the company’s financial documents to review. “You’ve got to be shitting me,” he later told the company’s CEO. “This place is a gold mine.”
Over the next four decades, the student loan industry that Sallie Mae and Congress created blew up into a crisis that would submerge a generation of Americans into $1.5 trillion in student debt. In The Debt Trap, Wall Street Journal reporter Josh Mitchell tells the “vivid and compelling” (Chicago Tribune) untold story of the scandals, scams, predatory actors, and government malpractice that have created the behemoth that one of its original architects called a “monster.”
As he charts the “jaw-dropping” (Jeffrey Selingo, New York Times best-selling author of Who Gets in and Why) 70-year history of student debt in America, Mitchell never loses sight of the countless student victims ensnared by an exploitative system that depends on their debt. Mitchell also draws alarming parallels to the housing crisis in the late 2000s, showing the catastrophic consequences student debt has had on families and the nation’s future. Mitchell’s character-driven narrative is “necessary reading” (The New York Times) for anyone wanting to understand the central economic issue of our day.
2. Solving the Student Loan Crisis | By Cryn Johannsen
Higher education should not be a business from which many profits while millions go into a lifetime of debt! American higher education is at the point of colossal failure. Thanks to the creation of “Higher Ed Inc.,” We now live in a dysfunctional country with millions of Americans struggling to pay or completely unable to pay their student loan debts. Millions of new students going to college will end up equally in debt, saddled with loans, and unable to join the middle class and enjoy the American dream. The student loan debt crisis is no longer a matter that each student or family can solve on their own. We need everyone to put our voices together to push aggressively for change. Read this book and join us if you are among the millions of current student loan debtors, future students and parents about to take out loans, or policymakers and politicians who want to help fix our broken system of higher education.
3. The Student Loan Mess | By Joel Best
This illuminating investigation uncovers the full dimensions of the student loan disaster. A father and son team―one a best-selling sociologist, the other a former banker and current quantitative researcher―probes how we’ve reached the point at which student loan debt―now exceeding $1 trillion and predicted to reach $2 trillion by 2020―threatens to become the sequel to the mortgage meltdown. In spite of their good intentions, Americans have allowed concerns about deadbeat students, crushing debt, exploitative for-profit colleges, and changing attitudes about the purpose of college education to blind them to a growing crisis.
With college costs climbing faster than the cost of living, how can access to higher education remain a central part of the American dream? With more than half of college students carrying an average debt of $27,000 at graduation, what are the prospects for young adults in the current economy? Examining how we’ve arrived at and how we might extricate ourselves from this grave social problem, The Student Loan Mess is a must-read for everyone concerned about the future of American education.
Hard facts about the student loan crisis:
• Student loan debt is rising by more than $100 billion every year.
• Among recent college students who are supposed to be repaying their loans, more than a third are delinquent.
• Because student loans cannot be discharged through bankruptcy, the federal government misleadingly treats student loan debt as a government asset.
• Higher default rates, spiraling college costs, and proposals for more generous terms for student borrowers make it increasingly likely that student loan policies will eventually cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.
4. Game of Loans | By Matthew Chingos
Why fears about a looming student loan crisis are unfounded―and how they obscure what’s really wrong with a student lending
College tuition and student debt levels have been rising at an alarming pace for at least two decades. These trends, coupled with an economy weakened by a major recession, have raised serious questions about whether we are headed for a major crisis, with borrowers defaulting on their loans in unprecedented numbers and taxpayers being forced to foot the bill. Game of Loans draws on new evidence to explain why such fears are misplaced―and how the popular myth of a looming crisis has obscured the real problems facing student lending in America.
Bringing needed clarity to an issue that concerns all of us, Beth Akers and Matthew Chingos cut through the sensationalism and misleading rhetoric to make the compelling case that college remains a good investment for most students. They show how, in fact, typical borrowers face affordable debt burdens, and argue that the truly serious cases of financial hardship portrayed in the media are less common than the popular narrative would have us believe. But there are more troubling problems with student loans that don’t receive the same attention. They include high rates of avoidable defaults by students who take on loans but don’t finish college―the riskiest segment of borrowers―and a dysfunctional market where competition among colleges drives tuition costs up instead of down.
Persuasive and compelling, Game of Loans moves beyond the emotionally charged and politicized talk surrounding student debt and offers a set of sensible policy proposals that can solve the real problems in student lending.
5. The Real College Debt Crisis | By Melinda Lewis
Higher education plays a critical role in the economy and society of the United States, creating a ladder of economic opportunity for American children, especially for those in poverty. Unfortunately, higher education today increasingly reinforces patterns of relative privilege, particularly as students without the benefit of affluent parents rely more and more on student loans to finance college access. This book presents penetrating new information about the fiscal realities of the current debt-based college loan system and raises tough questions about the extent to which student loans can be a viable way to facilitate equitable access to higher education.
The book opens with relevant parts of the life stories of two students―one who grew up poor and had to take on high amounts of student debt, and another whose family could offer financial help at critical times. These real-life examples provide invaluable insight into the student debt problem and help make the complex data more understandable. A wide range of readers―from scholars of poverty, social policy, and educational equality to policymakers to practitioners in the fields of student financial aid and financial planning―will find the information in this text invaluable.
6. Educating Public Interest Professionals and the Student Loan Debt Crisis | By Robert Fisher
In Educating Public Interest Professionals and the Student Loan Debt Crisis, Robert Leslie Fisher examines the student loan debt crisis and its effects on America’s citizens and economies. Exploring the shortage of professionals in fields such as education, medicine, and law, Fisher analyzes the causes and effects of the student loan debt crisis in America and argues for higher wages, student loan debt forgiveness, and an updated financial model to pay for training for public interest professionals. Supported by economic research and a sociological background, Fisher proposes a path forward that will ease the student loan debt crisis and revitalize the economy.
7. Student Debt | By Sandy Baum
This book analyzes reliable evidence to tell the true story of student debt in America. One of the nation’s foremost experts on college finance, Sandy Baum exposes how misleading the widely accepted narrative on student debt is. Baum combines data, research, and analysis to show how the current discourse obscures serious problems risks misdirecting taxpayer dollars, and could deprive too many Americans of the educational opportunities they deserve. This book and its policy recommendations provide the basis for a new and more constructive national agenda to make paying for college more manageable.
8. Education Without Debt | By Scott MacDonald
Almost 50 million Americans have cumulatively borrowed more than $1.5 trillion to attend college. Roughly one-third of all adults aged 25 to 34 have a student loan. In Education without Debt businessman and philanthropist Scott MacDonald examines the real-life impact of crushing levels of student debt on borrowers and what can be done to fix this crisis.
Weaving together stories of debt-impaired lives with stories of personal success achieved with the essential help of financial aid, MacDonald reveals the devastating personal and societal impact of the debt problem and offers possible solutions. He explores the efforts of colleges and private philanthropists to make education affordable and relates his own experience of finding financial aid for need-eligible students at five universities.
Education without Debt is a must-read book for anyone concerned about the rising cost of education and what to do about this critical policy and societal issue.
9. Paying the Price | By Sara Goldrick-Rab
If you are a young person, and you work hard enough, you can get a college degree and set yourself on the path to a good life, right?
Not necessarily, says Sara Goldrick-Rab, and with Paying the Price, she shows in damning detail exactly why. Drawing on an unprecedented study of 3,000 young adults who entered public colleges and universities in Wisconsin in 2008 with the support of federal aid and Pell Grants, Goldrick-Rab reveals the devastating effect of these shortfalls.
Half the students in the study left college without a degree, while less than 20 percent finished within five years. The cause of their problems, time and again, was lack of money. Unable to afford tuition, books, and living expenses, they worked too many hours at outside jobs, dropped classes, took time off to save money, and even went without adequate food or housing. In many heartbreaking cases, they simply left school – not with a degree, but with crippling debt.
Goldrick-Rab combines that shocking data with devastating stories of six individual students, whose struggles make clear the horrifying human and financial costs of our convoluted financial aid policies.
10. Popping the Higher Education Bubble | By Mike Fishbein
Cheap credit on student loans coupled with widespread beliefs of ever-increasing returns on investment has caused college tuition to vastly outpace inflation and family incomes. From 1976 to 2010 commodities prices rose 280% and homes prices rose 400% while private education rose an incredible 1000%. While the price of education has skyrocketed, the value of a degree has not kept pace. The increase in the supply of degree holders has created an imbalance in the labor market. In 1940, only one in 20 Americans held a college degree. By 1977, that number had soared to one in four. Over the past 30 years, higher education has gone from facilitating upward mobility to exacerbating inequality. For the first time in history, the majority of unemployed Americans attended college, and it’s no more expensive than ever to go to college. Student debt is now greater than $1 trillion and many graduates are unable to secure employment sufficient to pay off these loans. As a result, students are increasingly beginning to default on these loans. Popping the Higher Education Bubble discusses the causes of the economic bubble, the harmful effects it has had, potential solutions to the problems, an analysis of whether college is still a wise purchase, and more. The higher education bubble has many similarities to the housing bubble. By comparing the student loan bubble to the mortgage bubble, this book also identifies potential outcomes and investment opportunities where the student debt bubble to pop.
11. Student Loan Guide | By Henry Renner
What do you know about the student debt crisis?
A report by CNBC on June 12, 2020, has helped us to understand that 44 million Americans collectively hold over $1.6 trillion in student debt. And these numbers show no sign of declining.
To worsen the situation, technological advancements, most especially automation, are making it harder to earn a living wage without some type of advanced degree. Currently, wages earned by graduate students are 80 percent higher than what is earned with just a high school diploma.
Every year, the United States Department of Education coughs out billions of dollars to help students get through college. This help comes through scholarships, grants, and loans. You can have a share of this cake and live your dreams.
But…on a second thought, we have heard that in February this year, the US officially entered a recession, and over 42.6 million Americans filed for unemployment between mid-March and June.
During the 2008 recession, many opted to go back to school and gain new skills. However, since then, the cost of a four-year college degree increased by 25 percent and student debt increased by 107 percent, and many are less sure if college will be the solution to riding out a recession this time around.
Going to college is a costly adventure. But that’s not the issue. The issue is that it is getting more expensive than ever before. Only the brave can. Are you brave? If you are as strong as we think you are, then maybe you can broaden your shoulders to bear the burden of going to college with a student loan.
Hey, take a chill pill, will you? It is not as hard as you think.
But how? That is the question.
And that’s where this guide comes in. Student Loan Guide will teach you:
- Requirements that make you eligible for a student loan
- The maximum and minimum amount you should borrow
- Tips to filling the financial aid form
- Best repayment options
- How to deal with student loan crisis
- And much more.
So, are you ready to understand the rudiments of student loans? Then get your copy of this guide now!
12. Student Debt Crisis | By Matthew Gumke
America is suffering from a debt crisis, caused by insane levels of student loans. Wages have only increased 67% since 1970, yet student loans are exploding to record levels, year after year. This, along with the soaring cost of living, has made it nearly impossible for ordinary millennials who go to college, to become financially independent in the richest country on earth. If you go to college and study most degrees and use the information you learned in your degree in the workforce, the American dream is dead. As an entrepreneur who’s looking to hire millennials, I can tell you that most graduates don’t have a clue how to help their businesses. Not only that, they’re in a constant state of fear and panic. Even if I pay them a great wage, they can’t afford to make ends meet due to their obscene student loans, often at high-interest rates. They’re trying to get married, buy a house, and have kids, yet their crippling loans make it impossible. Many millennials are ostracised from the dating scene because they’re simply too poor from student loans to date. It’s affecting their self-image, self-esteem, and confidence.
1. Total student loan debt is over $1.5 Trillion 2. College tuition has increased 213% since 19803. More than 3 million people aged 65+ are still paying off their student loans4. As of May 2018, 101 people owe at least $1m in unpaid student loans5. Black families carry more debt than white families and they’re more likely to default on their loans.6.40% of students will default on their loans by 20237.49% of the total loan value in bankruptcies are student loans. They’re unforgivable by bankruptcy 8.13% of Americans surveyed last year said they’ve decided not to have kids because their student loan debt is so high9. Student loan defaults are higher than the 2008 mortgage crisis10.50% of millennials think college wasn’t worthwhile this message is for concerned parents who worry about the future of their children/teenagers. It’s also for people worried if going to college/university in the 21st century will help them get ahead in life. It’s also for people stuck in a student loan crisis, looking to finally learn how to create a high income. I’m writing this because I wish someone gave me this advice when I was 16 and I was being shouted at for not going to university. I was told that I’d never been successful. I was told that my life would be so miserable, it wouldn’t be worth living. I believe that college died a painful death this century. No longer does a child need a formal education to get ahead in life.
College in the United States of America has turned into a horrible scam, enriching a few at the top of the pyramid, while the teachers and students suffer. Do you think the children of the people that own these colleges go to university? The children of people making 10’s millions of dollars per year? It’s turned middle-class children of the future into debt slaves. Unless these debt slaves somehow find a way to produce an exceptionally high income, they’ll never be able to create the levels of upward social mobility seen before in previous generations. Parents know it, kids know it, the college has turned into a scam. Unless you want to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, accountant, nurse, or something that needs a degree, you’re better off not signing the dotted line on a 6-figure loan. From the statistics you’ll see and learn about in this book, even a high-income career isn’t enough. Not only do I show the problems, but I also provide solutions. This could be the book that helps you finally sell them on the idea that you don’t need to go to college/university to become successful. I was able to become successful without crippling loans. I want the same for you too.
13. Student Loans | By Lyle Dessret
Have you ever stopped to consider how out of control the current student loan situation has become? Does it bother you that things just seem to be getting harder and harder out there with college and finding the funds necessary to attend college? Many people are starting to wake up to the reality that student loans are more of a burden than a help. Every year thousands of students will graduate with student loan debt. And every year the price of tuition seems to keep increasing. This book is a quick read and it takes a hard look at the current student loan crisis taking place in the country. It also provides some practical insight as to what you could do to help alleviate this problem.
14. Graduate to Freedom | By Angel Stallings
Take this journey with us as we share our best tips and tools to graduate without any student loan debt. This book provides the unique perspective of the HBCU and PWI financial experiences in one source! You will learn from two young Black women from the inner cities of Chicago and Detroit that graduated from college debt-free as first-generation students.
Hint: it wasn’t with just one large full-ride check. We weren’t athletes or brainiacs! This book tells you how to get access to the excess so you can pay off debt and/or stay out of debt completely.
“The total amount of outstanding student loans reached an all-time high in 2020, at $1.57 trillion… Based on the current rate of growth, aggregate student loan debt could reach $2 trillion by 2024 and $3 trillion by 2038.” This statistic, along with many others, confirms that there are not many resources out there that provide practical steps on how to obtain a debt-free degree. We live in a society where it has been normalized to carry the burden of debt at a young age, and that is NOT ok. Let us help you make your dreams a reality. It’s time to GRADUATE TO FREEDOM!
Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Student Loan Crisis
The student loan debt crisis is a growing problem that will affect many individuals, families, and even governments in the near future. The full impact of the current student loan debt crisis is still unknown. But one thing is for sure: it’s not getting any better. We all know how expensive college tuition has become, but what if I told you that there are ways to help pay for your degree? Here are some of the best books on student loan crisis to help you through this difficult time.
Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.
Meet Maurice, a staff editor at Bigger Investing. He’s an accomplished entrepreneur who owns multiple successful websites and a thriving merch shop. When he’s not busy with work, Maurice indulges in his passion for kayaking, climbing, and his family. As a savvy investor, Maurice loves putting his money to work and seeking out new opportunities. With his expertise and passion for finance, he’s dedicated to helping readers achieve their financial goals through Bigger Investing.