CFP: Beyond Fresh Start: Fixing the Broken Student Loan Default and Collection System

We received the following Call for Papers:

On April 6, 2022, in addition to announcing an extension of the federal student loan payment pause, the White House announced that the U.S. Department of Education is taking steps to  give a fresh start to millions of struggling borrowers who are currently in default on their federal student loans, protecting them from the harsh consequences of default if payments resume in the future. For too long, defaulted borrowers have slipped through the cracks, experienced ruined credit, and been made to suffer at the hands of the Department of Education’s punitive collection system, which seizes their wages, social security benefits, and Earned Income Tax Credits in retaliation for these borrowers defaulting on their federal loans.

While the relief the White House announced in April is critically needed for people living in or close to poverty, it is not a long-term solution to a crisis decades in the making. The Department now has an opportunity to fix the broken student loan default and collection system.

According to the regulatory agenda, the Department is planning on undertaking a rulemaking on student loan debt collection issues. This is an opportunity to influence the Department and encourage it to end its punitive collection practices and ensure meaningful pathways for borrowers to get out of debt.

In 2020, the Student Borrower Protection Center, in partnership with the Student Loan Law Initiative at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, released a roadmap for the Biden Administration to use existing authority to cancel student loan debt for servicemembers, public service workers, defrauded borrowers, borrowers facing total and permanent disabilities, and other vulnerable groups who have been forced to shoulder debts that should have been canceled under the law. Over a year on from these papers, the ideas laid out in our initial roadmap have animated policies providing relief for millions of struggling borrowers across the country. As we continue to hold the Administration accountable for canceling the debt of everyone who is entitled to relief under the law, we are also working tirelessly to fix our broken default and collection system. 

In August 2022, the Student Borrower Protection Center will hold a virtual panel series on issues related to debt collection titled Beyond Fresh Start. We call on all academics, practitioners, and any other advocates to submit abstracts for papers to be presented at this panel series, which will involve conversations with top scholars moderated by key participants in the student loan ecosystem such as journalists and leading advocates.

We are currently inviting short (7-10 page) papers for the following themes:
● Harm of the current collection system
● Racial disparities in student loan default and collection
● Ideas for reforming debt collection
● Existing legal authority for administrative fixes
● Role of states
Please submit paper abstracts to Mark Huelsman ( by May 15, 2022.
If selected, first drafts will be due on July 20, 2022, and final papers will be due on August 1, 2022.

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