Monday, September 1, 2014

Everything the internet wrote about that Brookings study on student debt today

The number of words written on Tuesday about the Brookings Institution study on student loan debtors might surpass the number of dollars that the median student loan borrower still owes: about 13,000. It may have been a stealth full-employment plan for business/policy journalists/opinionators.

Here is everything the internet wrote on June 24 about whether student debt is as bad as you think it is:

  1. The Brookings study on student loan debtors finds that the burden of student loan repayment (for some households, at least) is no worse than it was in the past.
  2. David Leonhardt writes up the study at The Upshot, part of The New York Times. (The story also appeared on A3 of the print edition.)
  3. Max Ehrenfreund at the Washington Post's Wonkblog also gives the study a fairly straightforward writeup, as did The Boston Globe, as did Marketplace.
  4. Choire Sicha at The Awl argued that the study is terrible, in part because its methodology oversamples the wealthy and that the households are not representative.
  5. Quartz's Matt Phillips explains why readers of The Awl don't want to hear that student debt isn't a problem.
  6. Peter Coy at Businessweek compares and contrasts Leonhardt's piece with Adam Davidson's New York Times magazine cover last weekend.
  7. Slate's Jordan Weissmann looks at the study's two main points and how they relate to Sicha's critique.
  8. At The New Republic, Mike Konczal argues that the real consequences of debt show up in the long run, not in monthly payments.
  9. Demos's Mark Huelsman argues that anecdotes can be overblown without invalidating the huge issue of student debt.
  10. Frederik deBoer critiques Sicha's critique with more information on research methodology. (The post is more interesting than my summary makes it sound.)
  11. The Atlantic's Derek Thompson zigs where others zag and writes about the return on investment in a college degree.
  12. As always, The Toast's Mallory Ortberg has a fantastic take.

Full disclosure, since this is clearly a contentious topic: Matthew Chingos, a co-author of the Brookings study, lent me a turkey pan at Thanksgiving despite mostly knowing me from higher ed policy Twitter. Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to return it, so if anything, he is beholden to me and not the other way around.

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