Student Debt is a Civil Rights Issue: The Case for Debt Relief and Higher Education Reform

80 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2020

See all articles by Dalié Jiménez

Dalié Jiménez

University of California, Irvine School of Law; Harvard Law School - Center on the Legal Profession

Jonathan Glater

University of California - Irvine School of Law

Date Written: October 15, 2019

Abstract

For an ever-growing number of students aspiring to higher education, borrowing is essential. Yet the burdens of indebtedness dis-proportionally harm Black and Latinx students. Debt also undermines the meaning and effect of higher education access, enabling many who borrow to reach the middle class but still limiting possibilities relative to students who do not need to borrow or who borrow less — students who are more likely to enjoy relative privilege. This Article identifies ways in which student indebtedness works systematically to disadvantage those students who belong to groups historically subordinated on the basis of race, and thus provides more concrete historical and empirical grounding for reforms that would improve the accessibility of higher education. The Article develops proposals for reform, including debt forgiveness and elimination of public institution tuition, to promote greater equity in access.

Keywords: student debt, consumer debt, higher education, higher education financing, higher education access, civil rights, consumer protection

JEL Classification: I24, I28, H52, ID22, H23, H40, D18, H41, H44, H81

Suggested Citation

Jiménez, Dalié and Glater, Jonathan, Student Debt is a Civil Rights Issue: The Case for Debt Relief and Higher Education Reform (October 15, 2019). Harvard Civil Rights- Civil Liberties Law Review (CR-CL), Vol. 55, No. 1, 2020. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3475224 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3475224

Dalié Jiménez (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uci.edu/faculty/full-time/jimenez/

Harvard Law School - Center on the Legal Profession ( email )

1585 Massachusetts Avenue
Wasserstein Hall, Suite 5018
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jonathan Glater

University of California - Irvine School of Law ( email )

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States

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