Ideas about dealing with student-loan debt

We've posted here many times about the massive and growing student-loan debt in this country. Two new pieces might interest our readers.

First, Maine is so interested in getting educated people to move to Maine that it will refund most (and often all) student loan repayments through a state tax credit. The program applies to all Maine workers who graduated college in 2015 or later, even people who move to Maine after having gone to school outside the state. (The program originally applied only to Mainers who received their degrees from a Maine school.) This article explains the program in general terms. Maine's revenue department provides greater detail here.

Second, regarding law-school debt in particular, take a look at Curing the Cost Disease: Legal Education, Legal Services, and the Role of Income-Contingent Loans by law prof John Brooks. Here is the abstract:

The costs of both legal education and legal services have been rising steadily for decades. This is because they share a common root: the constant above-inflation growth in the cost of labor-intensive goods and services known as the “cost disease.” The cost disease story roots cost growth not in market failure or bureaucratic waste, but in natural, even healthy, economic forces—productivity and wage growth. Because the source of this cost growth is productivity growth, the nature of the cost disease is such that an economy as a whole can afford these rising costs. But in a world of deep income inequality, the costs must be socialized, to be shared collectively. In this article for a symposium on financing legal education, I argue that the Income-Driven Repayment program for student loans is a mechanism for partially socializing the costs of both legal education and legal services, while still maintaining the vital independence of both law schools and the bar. I also take a critical look at the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, counter-intuitively arguing that it has serious flaws in its goal of serving the broader public interest.

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