Dignity and Debt logo
A global network of scholars advocates, and financial organizations working to understand and empower the linkages between lending and human values.

Why Dignity?

Two men shaking hands in a field
Loans enable people to realize their visions of a good life, yet many families across the globe are falling into life-altering debt. Worried that they will forever be enslaved by it, some parents have trouble sleeping and their health and relationships diminish. Debt affects their ability to help loved ones live with dignity, whether they be children or aging parents with inadequate resources. Further, debt can reduce self-esteem, motivation, and capacity to participate effectively in civic life and financial institutions. Financial propositions that lack a vision of dignity treat people like robotic quantities, occluding the very moral values that give financial sacrifices meaning.

Latest Updates

Student Debt Visualization Contest Winners Announced

Envisioning a meaningful future of financial autonomy and educational inclusion.

Student Debt and Racial Disparities

View a series of original data visualizations exploring facets of student loan debt, created in homage to W.E.B. Du Bois.

Student Loan Debt Calculator

Use this interactive tool to calculate your student debt, compare it with various demographic groups, and explore options for refinancing.


News announcement photo Deborah James on the Use of Welfare Payments as Debt Collateral

Deborah shares a report for Black Sash on “reckless lending” in South Africa. See the related coverage at Ground Up as well as new stories and television coverage gathered at Deborah’s book site on Facebook.

News announcement photo An Open Letter on Student Debt

Educators push for changes centered on student-borrowers in Inside Higher Ed.

News announcement photo Fred Wherry on Fair Bartering When Resouces Are Lacking

Fred Wherry talks to the New York Times about human relationships in bartering during pandemic-era lockdowns.

In collaboration with

Princeton Unviersity logo
Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies logo
Social Science Research Council logo
Social Science Research Council logo
MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth logo