Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion

AEDI’s work in the college debt arena stems from our read of the evidence. While assets have demonstrated potential to improve children’s educational outcomes, in alignment with our understanding of education’s role as a catalyst of opportunity and upward mobility, student debt is corroding this function and, in the process, imperiling the American Dream. In July 2015, AEDI Director Dr. William Elliott published The Real College Debt Crisis: How Student Borrowing Threatens Financial Well-Being and Erodes the American Dream, with AEDI Assistant Director Melinda Lewis. This work advances AEDI’s niche within the student debt conversation, questioning the effects of debt-dependent financial aid on equity and return-on-degree, while highlighting asset alternatives more consistent with our educational aims. Coming work in the AEDI’s college debt portfolio includes another book commissioned from Dr. Elliott, to include essays from analysts in the field, speaking engagements stemming from publication of The Real College Debt Crisis, and continued forays into education policy and financial aid reform circles.