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

Introducing The Debt Collection Lab

Our new website visualizes the increasingly uneven distribution of debt collection lawsuits in the US by neighborhood and race.

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 PEW features new Debt Collection Lab

The Pew Foundation interviews Fred Wherry on the Lab’s debt collection lawsuit tracker.

News announcement photo NY Times Publishes Essay by Network Members

Eaton, Villalobos, and Wherry argue for debt relief because of poor lending practices.

News announcement photo Network members talk to CBS News about Student Loan Debt Forgiveness

The half-hour documentary features Fred Wherry, Charlie Eaton and Seth Frotman.

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