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Postdoc Researcher Eleni Schirmer in the New York Times

July 6, 2023

Eleni Schirmer, along with colleagues at the Debt Collective, co-authored a white paper challenging the central claims in the U.S. lawsuit blocking student debt cancellation.

The central claim of the lawsuit blocking relief is that the Missouri-based loan servicing company, MOHELA, would lose financial revenue, should President Biden enact his plan to cancel up to $20,000 of student debt per borrower.

But as Schirmer's research reveals, the fundamental assertion that MOHELA will lose revenue is completely false.  As her research shows, even with student debt cancellation, the loan servicing company's revenues will increase. The loan servicing company is set to have its biggest earnings in the company's entire history. 

Schirmer wrote about this research for the New York Times. She explains, "The ease with which the state attorneys general were able to make claims that contradict basic facts, void of any rigorous stress testing, is all the more striking when compared with the endless hoops that ordinary people have to jump through to prove their eligibility for financial aid or debt relief. This is what the sociologist Howard Becker calls the “hierarchy of credibility”: Those at the top of the social hierarchy don’t have to prove their claims; they’re just taken for granted. But claims made by those on the bottom are burdened by skepticism and demands for proof. In this instance, that difference may deprive millions of people of much-needed relief."

The research was also highlighted on MSNBC, The New Republic and The American Prospect, NPR's On the Media and elsewhere. 

Eleni_Schrimer_in_the_NYT_on_student_debt_relief Credit: Andrew Rae

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