Race, Education Loans, & Bankruptcy

Written by:  Brian Hinkle

Abbye Atkinson, the author of an article entitled Race, Educational Loans, & Bankruptcy, considers whether a college degree offers the same benefits and protections to African Americans as it does to Whites.  Atkinson bases her discussion on the 2007 Consumer Bankruptcy Project which indicates that White college graduates are less likely to file for bankruptcy than African American college graduates.  Atkinson concludes that since African Americans who attain a college degree are just as likely to file for bankruptcy as those without a college degree, they do not derive the same benefits from a college degree as Whites do.  As part of her discussion, Atkinson specifically looks two very controversial subjects that have been at the forefront of the debate over student loans and higher education; federal lending policies and federal bankruptcy policies making discharge of student loans virtually impossible.  The article focuses on the disparity in income between Whites and African American college graduates, the higher number of African Americans than Whites who rely on loans for education, and the duty to repay the loans.  In the end, Atkinson seems to suggest that due to the socioeconomic differences between African American and White college graduates, Congress should rethink its policy regarding the discharge of student loans in bankruptcy.

I found this article particularly interesting because the discussion of federal lending policies has becoming more relevant (with regard to all races), as it is well-known that the current status of student loan debt in the United States has hit an all-time high, surpassing credit card debt.  Furthermore, the discussion regarding the existing bankruptcy policies making discharge of educational loans nearly impossible is also becoming highly relevant, as many more students are finding themselves unable to repay the large amounts of money they have borrowed for their education.

To read the article discussed in this blog, click on the link provided below.

Abbye Atkinson, Race, Educational Loans, & Bankruptcy, 16 Mich. J. Race & L. 1 (2010).


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