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What We Do Cities for Student Borrower Protection

Cities for Student Borrower Protection

America’s cities are on the front lines of the student debt crisis.

The student debt crisis is reaching every city, town, and neighborhood across the country, hurting local economies and labor markets. Student debt is driving shortages in critical professions, including teachers, nurses, and other public servants who make our cities work. Student loan defaults are also concentrated in the most economically distressed communities—magnifying gaps in wealth and driving inequality.

The Student Borrower Protection Center is working with city governments to address the student debt crisis and empowering local leaders to stand up for student loan borrowers.

Across the country, city government are leveraging their resources to meet borrowers where they are by:

  • Developing research to expose the true cost of student debt and highlight the impact that the broken student loan market has on communities—especially communities of color;
  • Connecting millions of people who already rely on cities for services and benefits with the information and tools they need to tackle their student debt; and
  • Halting abuses and holding colleges and predatory student loan companies accountable when they break the law.

COVID-19: Looking for resources to assist borrowers with questions on student loan repayment during the coronavirus pandemic? Visit our resource page to learn more.


Disparate Debts: How Student Loans Drive Racial Inequality Across Cities

This report examines alarming racial disparities in student debt burdens and borrower distress across American cities. The report highlights trends and offers new analysis of recent research by economists and city officials

Working with Partners to Tackle the Student Debt Crisis

Student Loan Debt in Philadelphia

In May 2020, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released a report examining the distribution and impact of the over $11 billion in student loan debt carried by borrowers in the city.

Student Loan Debt Trends in the District of Columbia, 2008-2018

In January 2020, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond released a report focused on student loan debt in Washington, DC. The study examined student loan debt trends for adults over the age of 25 throughout the city.

At What Cost? Student Loan Debt in the Bay Area

The San Francisco Treasurer’s Office of Financial Empowerment, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, released a report on student loan debt in the San Francisco Bay Area. The report found wide variance in borrowing and loan balances, and considerably higher delinquency and default in low-income communities and communities of color.

Student Loan Borrowing Across NYC Neighborhoods

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, released a report on disparities in student loan distress across New York City neighborhoods. The report found wide variances in delinquency rates across the city’s boroughs.

Student Loan Debt Distress Across NYC Neighborhoods: Identifying Indicators of Vulnerability

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) released a follow-up report to its 2017 report on borrower distress across New York City. The report explored the effects of student loan debt on borrowers’ financial well-being with a focus on New York City neighborhoods with higher rates of borrower distress. DCA examined a series of predictive factors for default, including: completion, attendance, school type, student status, income, and race/ethnicity.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York Letter in re: Senator Booker Data Request

In response to a data request from Senator Cory Booker, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York examined default rates in the country. The data highlights significant gaps in debt burdens between majority-white and majority-minority zip codes in ten of the nation’s most segregated cities.

See More

Resources & Factsheets

Cities on the front lines:

New York City
Department of Consumer

District of Columbia
Office of the Attorney

San Francisco 
Office of Financial

Want to learn more about how your city can tackle the student debt crisis? Email us at:

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