Student Debt Cancellation

Conversations about the nation’s budget should be about spending priorities and the real resources — people, materials and time — necessary to accomplish them. Below are links to research, proposals and commentary related to the macro and micro impacts of cancelling student college debt and instituting a system of universally available public education.

Research & Proposals
Average Student Loan Debt (routinely updated)
— Melanie Hanson Educational Data Initiative

The Macroeconomic Effects of Student Debt Cancellation. Download the PDF
— Scott Fullwiler, Stephanie A. Kelton, Catherine Ruetschlin and Marshall Steinbaum. The Levy Economic Institute of Bard College (@LevyEcon) 2018

The Response/Commentary


Historic Coalition of Attorneys, Advocates, and Experts Urge the U.S. Supreme Court to Stand with Borrowers, Halt Republican Officials’ Scheme to Block Student Debt Relief • Labor Unions, Law Scholars, Economists, Student Loan Borrower Advocates to Nation’s Highest Court: Student Debt Relief is Lawful and Urgently Needed to Address the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Student Borrower Protection Center, Democracy Forward, and the American Federation of Teachers Nov 23, 2022

Student Loan Debt Cancellation Isn’t a Subsidy to Higher Education: Student Loan Credit is
— Nathan Tankus (@NathanTankus) Notes on the Crisis Aug 30, 2022

Marshall Steinbaum: Student Debt Cancellation is Economic & Human Justice
– Richard Eskow (@RJEskow) The Zero Hour Jan 10, 2022


Reframing Student Debt Cancellation as a Racial Justice Issue
— Bethany Romano The Heller School at Brandeis University (@TheHellerSchool) Oct 26, 2021

Raúl Carrillo on MMT’s Connection to Student Debt
— Sparky Abraham (@SparkyAbraham) Current Affairs (@curaffairs) Feb 9, 2021

The Case For Cancelling Student Debt
— Marshall Steinbaum (@Econ_Marshall) The Appeal (@TheAppeal) Jan 14, 2021


If You Want to Enact Free College, Cancel Student Debt Immediately • Financial Editor Sparky Abraham on why there are truly no good reasons not to cancel student debt.
Sparky Abraham (@sparkyabraham) Current Affairs Nov 19, 2020

How to Save the Pandemic Generation/< • Canceling student debt will prevent irreversible wealth loss in younger Americans. But they’re not the only ones who would benefit. — Alexis Goldstein (@Alexis Goldstein) The New Republic (@newrepublic) Sept 21, 20210

Warren vs. Sanders: Inside the Progressive Debate Over the Student Debt Crisis
• Their competing plans reveal a lot about how these White House hopefuls would govern.
— Kara Voght (@karavoght) Mother Jones (@motherjones) Jan 31, 2010

Student Loan Discharged in Bankruptcy – Just a Blip, or Something Bigger?
— Michael M. Krauss, James Park National Law Review (@natlawreview)Jan 28, 2020


An Administrative Path to Student Debt Cancellation
— Luke Herrine (@LDHerrine), Roosevelt Institute Dec 1, 2019

Cancel All the Student Debt: It’s About Economic and Racial Justice • Only full cancellation completely protects the vulnerabilities of Black students and students in general, while at the same time establishing higher education as a universal right and offering restitution to all those who have had to rely on debt finance.
— Naomi Zewde (@nzewde) Darrick Hamilton (@DarrickHamilton) ReWire News (@Rewire_News) Oct 14, 2019

The Law and Political Economy of a Student Debt Jubilee • Develops policy and legal arguments for using existing powers to cancel large amounts of student debt (perhaps all).
— Luke Herrine (@LDHerrine), SSRN Aug 24, 2019

Related Twitter Thread:

Stephanie Kelton discuss the macro-economic benefits of cancelling student debt.
— Richard Eskow (@RJEskow), Ring of Fire (@ringoffireradio), July 3, 2019 (32:43)

‘The Bold Solution We Need’: Over 100 Academics Endorse Sanders Student Debt Cancellation and Tuition-Free College Plan • “In the face of this crisis, nothing short of a complete overhaul of our public higher education system will suffice.”
— Jake Johnson (@johnsonjakep) Common Dreams (@CommonDreams) June 27, 2019

I’m calling for something truly transformational: Universal free public college and cancellation of student loan debt
— Team Warren (Elizabeth Warren) Medium (@Medium), April 22, 2019

Fed Says Student Debt Has Hurt the U.S. Housing Market
Student loans prevented 400,000 young Americans from buying homes, Fed says in paper covering 2005 to 2014
— Josh Mitchell (@JMitchellWSJ), Laura Kusisto (@LauraKusisto) Wall Street Journal, (@WSJ) Jan 16, 2019


People Are Finally Starting to Take Mass Student Debt Forgiveness Seriously • Is it time to forgive the debt?
— James Dennin (@JamesFDennin) Inverse, July 16, 2018

One answer for our student-loan debt crisis
— Katrina vanden Heuvel (@KatrinaNation) Daily Journal, June 20, 2018

A biblical answer to the $1 trillion problem of student debt
— F. Romall Smalls, (@Romall06), Religion News Service, May 2, 2018 #DebtJubilee

Stephanie Kelton: Student Debt And Deficit Delusions
— Richard Eskow (@rjeskow), The Ring of Fire Network, April 24, 2018 (18:00)

Students as Debt Slaves • It is time for a system that turns students into indentured servants to go
— John Buell, Common Dreams, (@commondreams) April 21, 2018

Steve Breen (@sdutBreen) (@breentunes)

This Democratic Senator Has a Plan to Make College Debt-Free for All.
— Eric Levitz @EricLevitz, New York Magazine (@NYMag), March 25, 2018

Killing a Parasite, Part 2 — How to Implement Student Debt Cancellation
— Gaius Publius (@Gaius_Publius), The Smirking Chimp, (@SmirkingChimp)
March 12, 2018

Stephanie Kelton explains how the government budget affects the economy and the mechanics of student debt forgiveness
— Matthew C. Klein (@M_C_Klein), Financial Times Alphaville,
March 10, 2018

Stephanie Kelton on budget deficits and student debt
Financial Times Alphachat Kelton talks with Matt Klein (@M_C_Klein) about how government budgets really work and what large-scale student debt forgiveness might do for the US economy. March 8, 2018 (48:29)

Picture the United States Without Student Debt
— Richard Eskow (@rjeskow),, (@OurFuture) Feb 27, 2018

Killing a Parasite — Canceling Student Debt, Part 1
— Gaius Publius (@Gaius_Publius), DownWithTyranny, Feb. 27, 2018

The Sanders Institute Talks: Student Loan Debt
Dr. Jane Sanders sits down with economist Dr. Stephanie Kelton to talk about the macroeconomic effects of student loan debt cancellation in the United States. Feb 18, 2018 (25:53)

Stephanie Kelton: Cancel Student Debt to Grow the Economy
R.J. Eskow, host of The Zero Hour, presents the question: “Could cancelling all student debt help everybody, including people with student debt and people who have never gone to college?” Feb 18, 2018 (14:23)

Canceling student debt could be the answer to growing the economy
— Ashley Curtin (@AshlyCurt), Nation of Change, Feb. 15, 2018

Want To Stimulate The Economy? Cut Student Debt–Not Taxes
— Ben Schiller (@btschiller), Fast Company, Feb. 12, 2018

More Support For Student Debt Cancellation
— Gaius Publius (@Gaius_Publius), Down With Tyranny, Feb 10, 2018

We Must Cancel Everyone’s Student Debt, for the Economy’s Sake
— Eric Levitz (@EricLevitz), New York Magazine (@NYMag) Feb. 9, 2018

Canceling $1.4 trillion in student debt could have major benefits for the economy
— Jillian Berman (@JillianBerman), Market Watch (@MarketWatch) Feb. 8, 2018

New Study Finds Cancelling Student Debt Provides Broad Economic Benefits at Low Cost
— Yves Smith (@YvesSmith), Naked Capitalism, Feb. 7, 2018

Want to grow the US economy? Cancel student debt, new report shows
— A.P. Joyce (@AndrewPaulJoyce) Mic, Feb. 6, 2018

The case for erasing every last penny of student debt
— Ryan Cooper (@ryanlcooper) The Week, (@TheWeek) Feb. 2, 2018

The Macroeconomic Effects of Student Debt Cancellation
— Dr. Stephanie Kelton (@StephanieKelton), Dr. Scott Fullwiler (@stf18), Dr. Catherine Ruetschlin, Dr. Marshall Steinbaum (@econ_marshall), The Sanders Institute, Feb, 2018


John Oliver says Jill Stein doesn’t understand her own student debt plan
— Jillian Berman (@JillianBerman) Market Watch (@MarketWatch) Oct 17, 2016


How the U.S. Government Could End the Student Debt Crisis Today • Instead of loaning students money, the federal government could just pay for their tuition, without causing any significant economic problems
— Raúl Carrillo (@RaulACarrillo), Yes Magazine, Nov 12, 2014

Raising the Floor, Not Just the Ceiling • To reform higher ed, we need a federal job guarantee.
— Tressie McMillan Cottom (@tressiemcphd), Slate, Jan 23, 2014

Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For: Guaranteed jobs, universal basic incomes, public finance and more
— Jesse Myerson (@JAMyerson), Rolling Stone, Jan 3, 2014