Alan Collinge (Student Loan Justice Org.) briefly points out some of the Issues with the Brookings Institution Study as Written by Beth Akers and Matt Chingos

There are what I perceived as problems with the Brookings Study.

Just one example: they base much of their analyses upon “lifetime earnings associated with earning a bachelor’s degree”. The average lifetimes earnings of degree holders is certainly skewed significantly upwards by the top 10% of earners (who account for over 40% of all earnings, and whose earnings have accelerated much faster than the rest of the population since 1989). Remove this group from the data, and average earnings increase is much smaller.

There are many similar instances of cherry picking data too numerous to mention here; but in general terms, the study appears to be doing everything to show that borrowers are not having problems. Yet, the study completely and totally ignores what are probably the best indicators of the borrower’s ability to manage their student loans: the default rates, and the deferment/forbearance statistics. The most recent data (which the lenders go to great lengths to decrease through various “default management” techniques during these temporary windows) show a 3- year default rate of almost 15% (the two-year rate is 10%). The lifetime default rate, which was certainly over 20% for people leaving school in 1995, is certainly well over 30% currently, and could easily surpass 50% for people leaving school more recently. Regarding deferment/forbearance over 40% of all loans are either in default, deferment, or forbearance.

It is very disappointing to see the Brookings people turn into cheerleaders for this structurally predatory lending system. They are not serving the public interest with studies like this, they are actively working against it.