May 21, 2019

CUA Law Professor Roger Colinvaux was quoted in a May 20 San Francisco Chronicle article entitled "Billionaire's student loan pledge puts pressure on wealthy."

Billionaire's student loan pledge puts pressure on wealthy

From: San Francisco Chronicle
By: Kathleen Pender
Date: May 20, 2019

Billionaire investor Robert Smith's surprise announcement Sunday that he will pay off student loans for the entire graduating class of Morehouse College is already having an impact, at least on other commencement speakers.

At Boston College's graduation ceremony Monday, speaker Isabel Capeloa Gil said she couldn't pay off the students' loans but there might be people in attendance who could and encouraged them to do so, said Boston College law professor Ray Madoff, whose daughter was one of those graduating.
. . .

But the pledge raises a host of questions, including whether the payment on behalf of about 400 graduates will be tax-deductible for Smith and tax-free for students and whether there are better ways to reduce debt.

"It raises questions. But it doesn't undermine the generosity of what he's doing at all," said Roger Colinvaux, a law professor at Catholic University.
. . .

If his goal was to draw attention to the student debt crisis, he succeeded.

"It's a generous effort for sure, but also designed to be splashy and get attention," Colinvaux said.
. . .

Colinvaux said, "If he runs it through the university then it should be deductible, but it kind of raises a question. How is the university picking which students get their debt paid off?"

As when colleges make grants or scholarships, they should have some sort of objective criteria, such as merit or financial need, he said.

Click here to read the full article.