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Robin Howarth

Senior Researcher

Robin is based in CRL's Durham office and has been a senior researcher there since late 2015 conducting research in student lending, small dollar lending, and debt buying. She also co-leads the student loan issue team with a focus on defending student borrower protections at the federal level and increasing federal and state accountability for student loan servicers and for-profit colleges.

Prior to joining CRL, Robin was a visiting professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC, where she also earned her PhD. From 2003 until 2015, she taught graduate and undergraduate economic and community development courses with a particular emphasis on finance. Her research interests at UNC focused on urban real estate markets, market analysis, and community development/ engagement.

Her background also includes experience serving as a grant reviewer for U.S. Treasury's CDFI Fund and facilitating workshops for state and local officials in development finance. She began her career in banking on the West Coast in various corporate and commercial real estate lending roles. Robin earned her BA and MA from Stanford University.

Research & Policy

Our in-depth research of financial practices is intended to guide policymakers and opinion leaders working to improve the state of lending.



March 28, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Brookings Institution published a new research report by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) that explores how online programs from for-profit institutions...
January 29, 2019 | By Mike Kennedy | American School and University
Students attending for-profit colleges continue to be less likely to graduate than their counterparts at public institutions, the Center for Responsible Lending says. The center has analyzed...
January 29, 2019
Interactive Map and Fact Sheets for Each State Break Down the Numbers DURHAM, N.C. – Today, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) released “The State of For-Profit Colleges” with new data that...
August 29, 2018 | By Adam Harris | The Atlantic
For many students, the path toward enrolling in a for-profit college starts with an advertisement—maybe while browsing online or watching a favorite television show. Either way, the message is...