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Student Debt: Forgive It or Forget It?

The U.S. is discussing a student loan forgiveness plan. Economics professor Kim Ruhl shares what to know about student debt.

Esther Seidlitz
September 19, 2022

Kim Ruhl is an expert in macroeconomics and international economics. He is currently the Curt and Sue Culver Professor of Economics at UW–Madison, and he is the codirector of the Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy (CROWE). He serves as a research associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research and as a researcher at the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. He helps to edit the Journal of International Economics and the Review of Economic Dynamics. Ruhl holds a PhD in economics from the University of Minnesota.

Chief Area of Research:

I am a macroeconomist with a focus on international trade and finance and economic policy, including tax policy. 

On The UW Now, I’ll Discuss:

I will lay out the way economists think about education and then present data on the makeup of people holding student debt. I’ll end with some thoughts on the policy and incentives that it creates.  

One Thing I’d Like Viewers to Remember Is: 

Education is an investment in an asset — knowledge — that makes the person more productive. More productive people tend to be paid more. 

To Get Smart Fast, Read:

There is a lot here: pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/jep.26.1.165. I would skim the introduction and the section “College as an Investment.” A good overview of the federal loans available and borrowing limits can be found here: studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/loans.

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