Read, Watch, Listen

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READ: Indentured Students: How Government-Guaranteed Loans Left Generations Drowning in College Debt

Tracing the history of the U.S. student loan industry from the Cold War era to the present, Elizabeth Tandy Shermer argues that the federal education loan program was never intended to make college more affordable. Shermer examines how the government’s choice to establish this program decades ago has had lingering effects on higher education — including making colleges and universities more dependent on tuition and saddling nearly 45 million Americans with exorbitant amounts of student debt. Published by Harvard University Press

WATCH: Level Playing Field

In this four-part documentary series, Vox Media follows the personal stories of several athletes to highlight larger social issues that affect all Americans. In the second episode, titled “Misclassified,” the show focuses on student-athletes’ experiences once they graduate from college. The episode also recounts the lesser-known history of the term “student-athlete” and includes commentary from Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), a former Stanford University football player. Streaming on HBO

LISTEN: What Next: “Why College Professors Have Had It”

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, college faculty were feeling burned out by long hours, difficulty obtaining tenure, and relatively low pay. This episode of Slate’s What Next podcast highlights the sentiments of many university employees who are hesitant to return to in-person teaching and feel frustrated by what they perceive as their administration’s lack of concern for their safety. Available on and all major podcast apps

This article was published in our November 2021 issue.