TRAPPED AT WORK: How Big Business Uses Student Debt to Restrict Worker Mobility
Student Borrower Protection Center Research Paper
106 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2022 Last revised: 13 Oct 2022
Date Written: July 28, 2022
This report outlines the results of an investigation by the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) into the role of “Training Repayment Agreement Provisions” (TRAPs) as a form of shadow student debt. The investigation reveals that TRAPs have become more prominent in use by major employers, which often control a large market share of their respective industry, affecting millions of workers every day. Although employers argue that these provisions are a useful way to recoup the cost of teaching useful skills to employees who may depart sooner than anticipated, TRAPs are instead often used to trap people in poor working environments and low-paying jobs. In other words, TRAPs function in the real world as a penalty for leaving a job. And, even if this TRAP is not enforced, its presence has the power to accomplish the intended consequence of pressuring workers into staying.
Keywords: training repayment agreement provisions, student debt, student loans, employment
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