Volume 31

Student Debt Is a Racial Justice Issue: Could Antitrust Law Provide a Legal Avenue for Relief?

by Stephanie Kaczowski

The student loan crisis is a racial justice issue. Race/ethnicity is one of the strongest predictors of federal student loan default. Compared with other racial demographics, Black students are more likely to default and less likely to resume repayment after defaulting. Similarly, Black students are more likely to have student loan debt than White, Hispanic, and Asian undergraduate students. Overall, the student loan crisis disproportionately affects Black students compared to students of other races. My objective in this Note is to show why Black students are disproportionately impacted by the student loan crisis and to illuminate moral hazards posed by current federal student aid policies. Through the pending class action lawsuit Henry v. Brown University, this Note will also illustrate how even the most elite colleges and universities may be tempted to increase profit margins on the backs of the United States’ poorest students. This Note will also discuss legislative, administrative, and private remedies to the student loan crisis, with a particular focus on whether antitrust law can provide a viable legal avenue for student debt relief.

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