Encore NYC Lecture Announcement

Because of its success last month, the Henry George School of Social Science of New York City has asked me to give my college education/student loan lecture again in two weeks. Here are the details—note that the address is different and not at the school:

“College Education: Certain Debt, Uncertain Income”

6:30 PM, Wednesday, January 29, 2014

NYC Seminar and Conference Center

71 West 23rd Street (corner of 6th Avenue)

New York, NY 10010

“Space is limited. Registration required. Phone 718-721-2905 or email hgs.billy@gmail.com to reserve your place.”

As always, courses at the school charge no tuition. Here’s the abstract:

College Education: Certain Debt, Uncertain Income. Soaring costs for education, together with limited job opportunities and stagnant wage growth, place substantial financial and psychological burdens on students.

Noted columnist and researcher Matt Leichter reviews tuition inflation, cuts in public funding and the business of lending to students. Mr. Leichter will also propose reforms to the system of financing college education.

The last lecture went splendidly. I was on my feet for nearly three hours, the last of which spent answering questions. Hope to see you there!

13 comments

    1. Thanks Unemployed Northeastern. I didn’t realize Gretchen Morgenson wrote for the Times. This Rohit Chopra line is my favorite:

      But, speaking generally and not specifically about ITT, Mr. Chopra of the consumer protection bureau said: “When a lender originates a loan that they expect to fail, that raises questions about their broader incentives. Our concern is normal market forces may not be working properly.”

      “Normal market forces,” of course, do not include federal lending here.

      One of the points of my lecture is that the for-profits aren’t intrinsically bad (okay, their syllabi are cookie-cutter); they’re parasites on the loan program, but they’re just not as good at it as everyone else. The difference between Harvard and Cooley: Harvard is Harvard and Cooley is not.

      1. “When a lender originates a loan that they expect to fail, that raises questions about their broader incentives”

        I am still of the opinion that the primary reason for the existence of IBR, PLSF, and PAYE is to artificially lower the default rate to something the government hopes approaches 0%. That way, their policies are vindicated, even if no one can actually make their loan payments.

        “One of the points of my lecture is that the for-profits aren’t intrinsically bad (okay, their syllabi are cookie-cutter); they’re parasites on the loan program, but they’re just not as good at it as everyone else. The difference between Harvard and Cooley: Harvard is Harvard and Cooley is not.”

        Um, Cooley isn’t a for profit. And c’mon – Cooley is named a state supreme court judge. Harvard is named after a yeoman farmer. OBVIOUSLY that makes Cooley more prestigious!!

      2. Whenever the government realizes just how much of a write-down is going on via PAYE, it’ll show just how expediently the Obama administration was dealing with student loan debt all these years.

        Yeah, I knew Cooley was a nonprofit when I wrote that line, but using Florida Coastal instead just doesn’t show the ease with which law schools abuse the federal loan program, and the for-profits emulate Cooley, not the other way around. Owning the naming rights to a local baseball field puts Cooley in its own universe of weird, for-profit or no.

      3. You think that anyone is ever going to have their loans forgiven under any of the income-based repayment plans? Bless your optimistic heart. I give them 24 months or less when we inevitably have a Republican President and Congress at some point in the future. IIRC, Romney and some of the other primary runners discussed ending those plans during one of the 536 Republican debated in 2012, and of course then there’s Petri’s ExCel Act. There is simply no way the programs are in place long enough for anyone to have their loans forgiven by them.

      4. In a footnote in Schrag’s response to Tamanaha, he said that IBR is built into the master promissory note and thereby becomes a contractual obligation on the part of the federal government. Thus, if the IBR law is repealed, the program will continue for debtors who’ve already signed on to it.

        As for what the ‘pubsies will do when they’re in power. Oh, I’m sure they’ll repeal IBR, pass Petri, or gut the loan program. I certainly don’t think they’re in favor of the PLUS loan programs anymore than Lumina/Gates are. The thing is, I don’t see them controlling the legislative process for a long while, and there are plenty of rabid demmers who think that every loan gets Jacinta and Julio one step closer to “upward mobility,” or something.

      5. Oh, I dunna. Without digging into the meat of the issue, which would require me to remember things from my long-ago Contracts class, or more likely, things that weren’t taught in 1L Contracts class because they have to do with contracts and not ethereal notions of social justice, I’m not entirely sure Schrag is correct. For one thing, The VAST majority of federal loans (in volume, not dollar amount) were taken out before IBR was implemented in 2007, so they won’t be on all those promissory notes. For FFEL loans made between 2007 and 2010, I’m not entirely sure that the promissory note is between the government and the student – it may be between the guaranteed lender and the student. For another thing, I have heard tales of the reassurances law profs and admins were making about private student loans pre-2005: they’re like hedging your bets because you can discharge them in bankruptcy, Congress can’t retroactively take away that right, etc. What I’m trying to say is – there are very few professors I trust; Schrag is not among them.

      6. The question is whether IBR changes the MPN for all loans and whether a repeal would change them back. I think the guaranteed lenders are required to use the MPN as a condition of the guarantee. As for Schrag, I think he’s flippant about the ills of subsidizing law schools, but he’s factually correct that IBR appears on the MPN. Whether he’s correct about federal contract law, I don’t know, but I give him the benefit of the doubt that the feds can’t snatch away IBR from debtors the way it can and did with bankruptcy protections. I also don’t think that will happen for political reasons. I agree future debtors won’t be so lucky.

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