Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.

221.81 sec. 001 - Student Loan Law (Spring 2023)

Instructor: Suzanne Melanie Martindale  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 1
Grading Designation: Credit Only
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


M 3:35 PM - 5:25 PM
Location: Law 130
From January 09, 2023
To March 06, 2023

Course Start: January 09, 2023
Course End: March 06, 2023
Class Number: 32342
This course is open to 1Ls.

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 15
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 23
As of: 08/24 11:03 PM

If you're a Berkeley student, chances are overwhelming that you're taking out loans to pay for school. These days, roughly 7 in 10 students nationwide leave post-high school education with debt.  The debt burdens fall disproportionately on people who identify as low-income, female and/or people of color - exacerbating inequities in our society and creating barriers to building family wealth.

The federal government has taken extraordinary steps in the past few years to provide short-term relief to people during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, serious questions remain as to how lawmakers can create a fairer and more durable financial aid system in the long term.

How did the promise of higher education turn into a mountain of debt? And what can we do to fix it?

In this course, students will develop a solid foundation in student loan law that helps them understand their own loans. The course will also cover ongoing litigation and policy developments at the state and federal level that touch on student debt. Economic justice, administrative procedure, consumer protection and federal preemption will all be discussed along the way. This course will have a series of short written assignments.


Suzanne Martindale is a proud Berkeley Law alum who is thrilled to be teaching this course.

Off campus, Suzanne serves as Senior Deputy Commissioner at the California Department of Financial Protection & Innovation (DFPI), the state's financial regulator. DFPI licenses and regulates banks and credit unions as well as a wide range of other financial companies, including student loan servicers and debt collectors among many others. Suzanne runs the DFPI's Consumer Financial Protection Division, which is dedicated to increasing oversight of the financial industry to protect vulnerable communities.

Suzanne received her J.D. from Berkeley Law in 2010; M.A. in the Humanities from The University of Chicago in 2005; and B.A. in Philosophy from UC Berkeley in 2003.   

(Oh and she made it through PSLF - so feel free to ask her about her own experience repaying her student loans!)

Exam Notes: (None) Class requires a series of papers, assignments, or presentations throughout the semester
Course Category: Social Justice and Public Interest
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Race and Law

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