Archived webinar: Institutional Debt: The Invisible Architecture of Higher Education

By | March 21, 2023

In the absence of adequate public funding, public universities have increasingly turned to debt financing to fund operations and, especially, capital development projects. While debt financing may solve universities’ short-term cash-flow problems, its long-term political implications are unclear. To date, there is little awareness of the impact of universities’ debt financing on organizational priorities, much less educational inequalities. The relative obscurity of debt financing has contributed to its enshrinement as a governance tool of universities. This session will discuss how debt financing shapes institutional priorities. Not simply a matter of dollars and cents, this session will explore debt financing as a power relationship. What is institutional debt, and how does it shape the institutions we work in? How does it affect the educational experiences that instructors and academic staff offer, and that students experience?

Eleni Schirmer is a freelance writer and a postdoctoral fellow at Concordia University’s Social Justice Centre in Montréal, Québec. She organizes with the Debt Collective.

Jason Thomas Wozniak is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Foundations and Policy Studies Department at West Chester University. He Co-Coordinates The Latin American Philosophy of Education Society and organizes with the Debt Collective.

Link to slides
Debt Reveal Worksheet (not openly licensed but permission to reuse/share)