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Town Hall Seattle: Civics Series

Town Hall’s Civics series highlights everything from local policies to world politics. These events offer perspectives on a range of topics as diverse as Seattle itself—a bustling forum for activism, discovery, and thought-provoking discussion.

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Dec 5, 2019

The struggle to pay for college is one of the defining features of middle-class life in America today. Author Caitlin Zaloom took us into the homes of middle-class families throughout the nation to highlight the hidden consequences of student debt and the ways that financing college has transformed family life. With insight from her new book Indebted: How Families Make College Work at Any Cost, Zaloom shared interviews with parents and their college-age children about stressful and intensely personal financial matters.

Zaloom was joined in conversation with KUOW’s Ross Reynolds to offer a troubling portrait of an American middle class fettered by the “student finance complex”—the bewildering labyrinth of government-sponsored institutions, profit-seeking firms, and university offices that collect information on household earnings and assets, assess family needs, and decide who is eligible for aid and who is not. Join Zaloom and Reynolds for a discussion that breaks through the culture of silence surrounding the student debt crisis and reveals the unspoken costs of sending our kids to college.

Caitlin Zaloom is associate professor of social and cultural analysis at New York University. She is a founding editor of Public Books and the author of Out of the Pits: Traders and Technology from Chicago to London.

Ross Reynolds is the Executive Producer of Community Engagement at KUOW. He is the former co-host of KUOW’s daily news magazine The Record and KUOW’s award–winning daily news–talk program The Conversation. 

Recorded live in The Forum at Town Hall Seattle on November 20, 2019.