Postponed: Due to the evolving health and travel concerns around COVID-19, this event has been postponed. We are collaborating with our speakers and planning to reschedule the debate for a later date. If you registered for this event, you can expect to receive more information once future plans are confirmed.

Thank you again for your interest in Debates of the Century @NYU Wagner. We look forward to seeing you soon.

The Century Foundation and NYU Wagner are proud to present Debates of the Century @NYU Wagner, a public debate series showcasing thoughtful, informed dialogue from experts.

Should the government cancel student debt?

Student debt in America is reaching crisis levels: today, it affects more than 40 million people, and disproportionately hurts communities of color. As the crisis worsens, there is an increasing consensus that something must be done to give relief to student borrowers. But what’s the best path forward?

Hear two leading higher education experts debate the merits and drawbacks of canceling $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt. Would eliminating debt in its entirety help narrow the racial wealth gap, or simply benefit high-income borrowers? Would doing so help or hurt the economy? Would canceling it really address the underlying drivers of debt?



  • For the motion:
    Alexis Goldstein
    Senior Policy Analyst at Americans for Financial Reform


  • Against the motion:
    Robert Shireman
    Director of Higher Education Excellence and Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation


  • Moderator:
    Zakiya Smith Ellis, EdD
    Secretary of Higher Education, State of New Jersey


Doors will open at 6:00pm and the event will begin at 6:30pm.


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