The unasked question about the student loan bailout: What’s colleges’ responsibility?

As an advocate for people struggling to repay their college loans, Claudio Martinez followed every step of the process that culminated with President Joe Biden declaring that a part of all that debt would be forgiven.

But there was one thing Martinez didn’t hear during the lead-up to Biden’s decision, under which taxpayers will assume an estimated $300 billion worth of student loan debt, or the debate that followed: any discussion of universities’ and colleges’ responsibility for the poor return that many borrowers got for their investment.

“What I don’t see is a mention of who made money in the last 20 years out of this system,” said Martinez, executive director of Zero Debt Massachusetts, a grassroots organization of students, families and activists in that state.

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