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Grad School Debt: Thinking through the Implications of Proposed Policy Solutions

The Urban Institute’s Sandy Baum, who recently authored a series of reports on graduate school finances and outcomes, will present evidence on graduate student debt and will lead a panel discussion on federal policy issues, such as loan limits, forgiveness, and the private sector’s role. Federal policy plays an enormous role in graduate lending, and this panel will shed light on how graduate debt differs from undergraduate debt and the potential consequences of different policy solutions.

Graduate students borrow more than three times as much as undergraduate students, on average. And although graduate students make up less than 20 percent of borrowers, they account for almost 40 percent of the student loans the federal government makes each year. Higher levels of education are correlated with higher earnings and lower unemployment rates, but these numbers don’t address whether the current graduate lending system is the most cost-effective one for students and for taxpayers.



  • Sandy Baum, Nonresident Fellow, Urban Institute
  • Tressie M. Cottom, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Kevin James, CEO, Better Future Forward
  • Adam Looney, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

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This is an invite-only event. For questions, please contact


Date & Time Thursday, June 28, 2018
Dirksen Senate Office Building 50 Constitution Ave NE
Washington , DC , 20002
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