Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Sociology

Content Description

1 online resource (x, 175 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Elizabeth Popp- Berman

Committee Members

Richard Lachmann, Joanna Dreby


Debt, Economic Sociology, Lawyers, Student Debt, Student Loans, Student loans, Law students

Subject Categories



Student loan levels in the United States have risen since their inception by the Federal Government in 1958 and they continue to rise today. Economists and the general public are at odds about what this means. The public narrative, as evidenced by news coverage, op-eds, social movements and polling data, suggest that student loans have become a “crisis” that negatively impacts the lives of young Americans. Economists, meanwhile, argue that there is no “crisis” with student loans. They argue instead that the notion of “crisis” is fueled by the fear of the growing dollar amount that student loans represent and the false narrative that many students cannot pay their student loans and/or are financially burdened by them. Perhaps more importantly, they argue that the average student loan pays for itself in higher earnings over the life course, thus making student loans a financially sensible option for borrowers and society.

Included in

Sociology Commons