The student loan crisis: How middle-class kids get hammered

Tim Goral's picture
Monday, February 10, 2014

Last October, in between arguments over the debt ceiling, the federal government somehow found time to send me an email. My student loan payment was 70 days past due, the message read, so the government had negatively reported me to each major credit bureau and would continue to report me until my account was brought current.

I'm betting the government sent out a lot of those letters to people like me: college graduates from middle-class families who didn't qualify for much in the way of scholarship aid and had parents who couldn't afford to pay for their schooling.

Research published last month in the journal Sociology of Education shows that students from middle-class families are bearing the brunt of the student loan crisis. Jason Houle, a sociologist at Dartmouth College, analyzed the student loan debt of about 9,000 men and women, focusing on how socioeconomics, including family income and parents' educational background, influenced student debt.

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