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Student Loans: Too Big to Fail?


January 21, 2014 5:30pm - 7:00pm

Room 290

Federal student loan debt topped the $1 trillion mark this past year, prompting some regulators in Washington to declare the student loan market "too big to fail." Are high levels of student debt stifling the economic recovery, as borrowers are paying back loans rather than buying houses or starting businesses? Should changes be made to the bankruptcy code so that debtors can more easily rid themselves of student loans, as $180 billion in loans are in default or forbearance? Or are student loans the best investment we can make in promoting innovation and a strong economic future? What should the role be for private lenders versus government-backed loans in lending to students?

The Rock Center for Corporate Governance and the Center on the Legal Profession have assembled a panel that includes the top student loan regulator at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; the founder of a new peer-to-peer lender that's funded $300 million in student loans backed by alumni; and a Stanford law professor who is an expert on bankruptcy and who has testified before the Senate Banking Committee on this issue.


Rohit Chopra is an Assistant Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he leads the agency's work on behalf of students and young Americans. He was also designated by the Secretary of the Treasury as the Bureau's Student Loan Ombudsman, a new position created by the Dodd-Frank Act. He has testified before Congress and lectured widely on the potential impacts of student debt on the broader economy.

Chopra holds a B.A. from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Mike Cagney is responsible for evangelizing the SoFi model, as well as overall operations and corporate strategy and development. In addition, Mike is a co-founder and a managing partner of Cabezon Investment Group, a global macro hedge fund. Before Cabezon, Mike founded, was CEO and then Vice Chairman and Chief Architect of Finaplex, a leader in wealth management software that was sold to Broadridge (NYSE: BR). Before Finaplex, Mike was Senior Vice President and head trader for the proprietary trading and financial products group at Wells Fargo Bank.

Mike holds an M.S., Management degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he was a Sloan Fellow. He also received a combined BA/MS from UC Santa Cruz in applied economics.

A scholar of the law of bankruptcy, corporate reorganization, and venture capital, G. Marcus Cole takes an empirical law and economics approach to research questions such as why corporate bankruptcies increasingly are adjudicated in Delaware and what drives the financial structure of companies backed by venture capital. He has been a national fellow at the Hoover Institution and has scholarly interests that range from classical liberal political theory to natural law and the history of commercial law. He serves on the board of directors for the Central Pacific Region of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith and on the editorial board of the Cato Supreme Court Review. Before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 1997, Professor Cole was an associate in commercial litigation with the Chicago law firm of Mayer, Brown & Platt, and he clerked for Judge Morris Sheppard Arnold of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.


F. Daniel Siciliano, JD '04, is a legal scholar and entrepreneur with expertise in corporate governance, corporate finance, and immigration law. He assumes a variety of leadership roles at the law school, including faculty director of the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance, associate dean for executive education and special programs and co-director of Stanford's Directors' College. He is also the co-originator of the OSCGRS (Open Source Corporate Governance Reporting System) Project. Previously, Siciliano was a teaching fellow for the law school's international LLM degree program in Corporate Governance and Practice and executive director of the Program in Law, Economics and Business. He is the senior research fellow with the Immigration Policy Center and a frequent commentator on the long-term economic impact of immigration policy and reform. His work has included expert testimony in front of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Prior to joining Stanford Law School, Siciliano co-founded and served as executive director of the Immigration Outreach Center in Phoenix, Arizona. He has launched and led several successful businesses, including LawLogix Group—named three times to the Inc. 500/5000 list. Siciliano serves as a governance consultant and trainer to board directors of several Fortune 500 companies and is a member of the Academic Council of Corporate Board Member magazine.