2015-05-03 Site Update

There are three pages or posts that I’ve updated recently.

(1)  Everyone’s favorite: Lawyers Per Capita by State, thanks to the ABA’s new data on state-level lawyer counts.

(2)  The “leaked” edition of the class of 2014’s employment report has been updated with the ABA’s newer data. I figured it wasn’t worthwhile to post on that twice. The original version is at the bottom but is struck out. (Sorry to e-mail subscribers for accidentally spamming your inbox with the separate updated post. I meant to delete it, not publish it.)

(3)  Finally, the Student Debt Data page is the beneficiary of a long overdue overhaul. It now leans more on the New York Fed’s research.

That’s all.


  1. Enjoyed reading your Student Debt Data page.

    One thing that might shape policy going forward that isn’t mentioned in the media very often is the effect of income-contingent payment (IBR/ PAYE) on the FFEL loan portfolio.

    It’s one thing when the government accepts a non-repayment on a direct loan that it made – presumably lending tax revenue it actually collected – it’s another if non-repayment causes FFEL loans to be defaulted at maturity and the government has to come up with cash to pay out the principal and accrued interest.

    We are not exactly running budget surpluses. What is the potential hit and the timing of it (especially in light of the proposed rule to expand IBR to older loans in July) for FFEL guarantees?

    One last: IBR is spoken of as a sure-fire default avoidance vehicle, but I’d be curious to know whether people on IBR are defaulting nonetheless. A generic pronouncement that debtors can ‘afford’ the ‘surtax’ is just that, utterly generic. It really depends how much you need each dollar and for what purpose you need it. The lowest balances (1k-5k) are defaulting at the highest rate per the NY Fed’s analysis of 2009 cohort. Is that the debtor ignoring a 1,000 loan because it’s trivial to the debtor, or is that horrendous poverty at the bottom of the stack? Is IBR really going to stem the tide of defaults, or will those on IBR start defaulting despite it?

    1. Thanks, Bravo. The article needs a little more work, but I think it’s a lot better than before.

      I don’t know when the government will “know” when the IBR balances start costing more than promised. It could be nearly 20 years! I recall a blog post at the NYT about how ED doesn’t have the talent or the tools to analyze its own data. Perhaps that will change.

      As for IBR default-avoidance, supposedly hundreds of thousands of borrowers were kicked off in recent months because they didn’t return the paperwork in time for calculating their incomes. Oops. But yeah, I don’t know if people will balk at the income surtax.

      1. I think the government can know exactly what IBR is costing today.

        Compare what loans in IBR are paid in the last year against what the loans should have paid in a year if IBR were just a 25 year refinance.The difference is what it is costing.

        It just cannot be true that IBR costs nothing until 25 years hence, when all the sudden it costs something. A final tally shouldn’t preclude an ongoing tally.

        I don’t think the federal government plays semantics with this stuff for the benefit of students or taxpayers (including gaming the definition of ‘default’ by adjusting the monthly installment payment down even to $0.00 per month), I think they’re doing it so they can keep originating new, bad loans.

        Maybe ‘student lending’ isn’t student lending at all, but a fiscal stimulus to the higher educational industry that the patsies obviously cannot afford.

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