Policy Documents

Sallie Mae and Uncle Sam: Cronyism in Higher Education Finance

Scott Piazza, and Victor Nava –
July 16, 2013

In this analysis and Policy Brief of higher education at Reason, the authors argue that in the last decade total student loan debt has grown nearly fourfold, from roughly $240 billion in 2003 to nearly $1 trillion at the start of 2013. Much of the focus on this growing problem has concentrated on the increasing cost of higher education, which has been a significant concern for families, students and universities themselves. This brief looks at another side of the student loan bubble: the crony capitalism of SLM Corporation—more commonly known as Sallie Mae—and how it has come to dominate student loan markets.