The History of Student Loans in the United States


Elizabeth Tandy Shermer, an associate professor of history at Loyola University Chicago, talks about her book, Indentured Students: How Government-Guaranteed Loans Left Generations Drowning in Debt, with Peoples & Things host, Lee Vinsel. Indentured Students examines the long history of student loans in the United States, including important turning points in the 1960s. Shermer argues that elected officials have preferred student loans as an answer to an important social problem, the perceived-need for college education, over more structural solutions. Shermer and Vinsel also talk about what this legacy of debt means today as well as what recent public discussions about student debt might portend for the future.

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Lee Vinsel

Lee Vinsel is an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech. He studies human life with technology, with particular focus on the relationship between government, business, and technological change. His first book, Moving Violations: Automobiles, Experts, and Regulations in the United States, was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in July 2019.

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