Friday, January 19, 2018

Susan Dynarski testifies at Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee (HELP) hearing


Professor Susan Dynarski testified in front of the United States Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee (HELP) hearing “Reauthorizing the Higher Education Act: Financial Aid Simplification and Transparency” on January 18.

Dynarski’s testimony focused on the U.S. student loan market, current student loan policy, and improvements geared at making borrowing work better for students. These include insights from research Dynarski has conducted with Nicholas Barr, Bruce Chapman, and Lorraine Dearden from their report "Getting Student Financing Right in the U.S.: Lessons from Australia and England,” which suggests that the U.S. could reduce student loan default by moving from the current repayment system, based on mortgage-style fixed repayments, to a well-designed and run income-contingent loan program. The report is a product of an international comparative conference that Dynarski convened in Washington, DC in June 2016: “Restructuring student loans: Lessons from abroad.” The conference provided policymakers, analysts and press with cross-national perspectives on student debt and repayment to enrich the U.S. conversation around student loans with perspectives on how other countries structure aid, borrowing, and repayment.

At the hearing, Dynarski joined witnesses Dr. Matthew Chingos, director of the Education Policy Program at the Urban Institute; Ms. Joanna Darcus, Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation Racial Justice Fellow at the National Consumer Law Center; Ms. Laura Keane, chief policy officer at UAspire; and Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, president of Amarillo College.

A video recording of the hearing can be found on the HELP committee website and Dynarski’s prepared testimony is available on the Ford School site

Susan Dynarski is Professor, School of Education; Professor of Public Policy, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; Professor, Department of Economics, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts

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