This report reveals how student loans widen the racial wealth gap and threaten long-term economic security for those who cannot count on family wealth to support their educational ambitions.

The authors emphasize that higher education is a core engine of economic growth, and an educated workforce a public good that benefits all. Therefore, a public commitment to supporting students in higher education is needed, helping current student loan holders as well as future generations. With student debt cancellation on the policy agenda for the 2020 presidential race, the authors of “Stalling Dreams” argue that this is a crucial moment to reverse the damage of American disinvestment in higher education.

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Laura Sullivan, Tatjana Meschede, Thomas Shapiro, and Fernanda Escobar

By The Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) at Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University