And some say the “system” is breaking down—looks to me like it’s working just fine—in what other world (in the middle of a pandemic no less) would a professor get a $360,000 grant to study the impact of student loan debt, which (by the way) averages $30,000 per student?

I heard the news on WFDD this morning, but according to the UNCG press release:

Dr. Arielle Kuperberg, a UNC Greensboro professor in Sociology and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, received a $360,228 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the impact of student loan debt on college graduates over time. She will be working in collaboration with Dr. Joan Mazelis, a sociology professor at Rutgers University–Camden.

“We’ll be examining how student loan debt affects people during the transition out of college and into adulthood while determining to what extent student loan debt may be causing a new ‘class divide’ among college graduates,” Kuperberg said.

Today more than two-thirds of college graduates carry an average of $30,000 in student loan debt when they finish their four-year degrees. In response, politicians have proposed plans to reduce or forgive these loans. Some universities are also instituting their own loan-reduction programs, including Rutgers University-Camden, whose students will be included in the study.

The NSF grant will allow them to expand on this mixed-method longitudinal study by adding more research subjects to their surveys and cohort of interviewees. They also plan to write a book based on their findings and make the data they collect available to other researchers.

The hope is that their research will provide a clearer understanding of both the benefits of student loans—such as the opportunities they create for students who might not otherwise attend college—and to what extent student debt may be reproducing inequality across generations.

Student loan debt is constantly described in the news as a “crisis” and a “tragedy,” but all said and done it’s real simple—if you borrow money you must pay it back, and personal goals–a home, marriage, children, etc. must take a backseat to that, if necessary. It’s called personal responsibility, which is a concept that is continues to fade in modern society. And here we have a professor getting hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit her attempt to tell us that. In the middle of a pandemic, no less.