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Media advisory: Professor can comment on student debt, effects on quality of life

Fri, 08/08/2014

LAWRENCE — As attention turns to the upcoming school year and continued concern about rising student debt levels, William Elliott III, associate professor and director of the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare’s Assets and Education Initiative, is available to speak with media about student debt, educational outcomes, saving for college and asset-based financial aid, and how debt affects quality of life and economic well-being.

A recently released Gallup Education Poll found that students who graduate with $25,000 or more of student debt reported having a lower quality of life and satisfaction in life than those who graduated without it. Elliott’s research has shown that having outstanding student debt can also put young people behind in attaining financial independence, delaying or derailing such financial milestones as saving for retirement and buying a home. Elliott’s research has also revealed the importance of initial asset levels for fueling later economic mobility, raising additional concerns about the effects of limited capital development for this generation of Americans.

With his colleagues at the Assets and Education Initiative, Elliott has called for establishment of savings accounts early in life dedicated to helping students pay for higher education. Their research about assets’ effects point to potential advantages of asset-based, rather than debt-dependent, financial aid. For example, AEDI analysis has shown that students with savings are up to six times more likely to attend college and graduate than their peers who do not have savings. In addition, those with savings are far less likely to graduate with crippling debt.

Elliott can speak about student debt in general, how the United States’ bifurcated welfare and financial aid systems prevent educational equality, proposed efforts to address student debt and other topics related to savings, education and poverty.

To schedule an interview, contact Mike Krings at 785-864-8860 or mkrings@ku.edu.



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