Short-Form Dialogue on Student Loan Moratorium

Student Loan Moratorium
As U.S. student loan debt topped $1.6 trillion, and the pandemic-related moratorium on repayments was set to expire, the debate about loan forgiveness heated up. Student advocacy organizations advocated partial or complete forgiveness of loans, while economists argued that the nation could not afford to absorb over $1 trillions in relief.

With opposing sides unable to agree (or sometimes even communicate), the Brookings Institution’s Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy asked Convergence Center for Policy Resolution to convene experts with divergent perspectives to discuss the nature of the problem and the best solutions. A significant topic of conversation – and of recent proposals by the Administration – was income-driven repayment (IDR) as a possible means of alleviating the burden on student loan borrowers.

In partnership with The Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy, the National Consumer Law Center and with the support of the Consensus Building Institute, Convergence co-convened a ‘Short Form Dialogue’. The format leverages the methodology Convergence has developed for our Flagship (traditional) Dialogues but applies a faster pace, shorter convenings, and necessarily has more limited goals. In this case, the short-form Dialogue consisted of interviews with Dialogue participants followed by three two-hour meetings, two weeks apart. It was not intended to achieve consensus but rather to build a productive conversation among opposing stakeholders about issues related to student debt and higher education financing, with the goal of building understanding and illuminating participants’ core values.

Following the Dialogue, two participants with very different perspectives on the issue published a report outlining key issues related to income-driven repayment and the pros and cons of various solutions to address them.

Read an article about their report.
Read the full report.