Many are concerned that unsustainable levels of student debt are preventing young people from buying a home, starting a business, or saving for emergencies. It’s clear that we need better policy solutions to ensure that getting an education doesn’t prevent you from building wealth later in life.

At Woodstock Institute’s 40th anniversary research symposium on October 2-3, Babies, Boomers, & Beyond: Economic Security, Community Prosperity, and Equity Across the Lifespan, experts will present cutting-edge research on how to give children a head start on saving and how adults are impacted by student loan debt. Don’t miss this opportunity to get up-to-date on the latest financial trends and issues facing students and young people.

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New research shows that student loan debt is disproportionately burdening some individuals. Caroline Ratcliffe of the Urban Institute will present on a new study that finds that African Americans and Hispanics are twice as likely as whites to have student loan debt. Ratcliffe also surveyed student loan borrowers and found that more than half are concerned that they will be unable to repay the debt.  This research will have significant implications for designing policies to reduce reliance on student loans and make student loan repayment more accessible. 

How can we make it easier for students to better prepare for college so that they don’t have to rely so much on student loans? William Elliott of the University of Kansas proposes that we shift our thinking about how financial aid should be structured from a debt-based model to an asset-based model. Elliott argues that helping students start saving for college early, rather than relying on debt to pay for college, will build habits that last throughout a lifetime, encourage students to be academically prepared for college, and make new graduates more financially independent.

Margaret Clancy of Washington University in St. Louis will discuss how encouraging childhood savings works in a real-life example, an updated assessment of the SEED for Oklahoma Kids (SEED OK) study. The SEED OK program provided 529 college savings accounts to randomly-assigned newborns with an initial $1,000 deposit. At the panel, Clancy will present as-yet-unpublished findings on the impact of the savings accounts on savings behavior and other outcomes. 

If you work with young people or are concerned about college affordability, don’t miss out on this panel at our 40th anniversary symposium. Register today!

Babies, Boomers, & Beyond: Economic Security, Community Prosperity, and Equity Across the Lifespan
Research Symposium and Bash
October 2-3
Sheraton Chicago
Chicago, IL


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Photo courtesy of Flickr user iambossi.