Sara Weiss

Sara Weiss

Vice President & Research Director

Sara Weiss directs CRL’s research team, and advances the organization’s policy objectives through timely, rigorous, and impactful research products. She is a data and measurement strategist and enjoys wrangling large and messy data and designing innovative data visualizations.

Prior to CRL, Sara was an applied researcher in both university and private consulting settings. She has led teams to execute research and produce actionable products for public education and federal agency stakeholders. Sara holds a Ph.D. in public policy from Duke University and was a Fulbright Fellow in South Korea. She is based in the Durham, NC office.

Research & Policy

Previous research by the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) has revealed the harms associated with high-cost installment loans, which are often marketed to subprime borrowers and have annual percentage rates of interest (APRs) in excess of 36%. This paper explores a different segment of the installment loan market: loans made by consumer finance companies with rates at or below 36% APR that have larger, longer terms and are often packed with fees for low-value, high-cost add-on products. The costs of these products are not included in the loans’ APRs. Using a sample of 67 collections cases...

The student debt crisis has been building for decades, and millions of families have seen their dreams derailed by unaffordable debt repayment burdens that block their path to financial stability. As college costs rose, students had to take on increasing amounts of debt to pay for higher education. At the same time, state student financial aid offerings were drastically reduced, forcing students and families into long term debt that often grew to be unaffordable over time. Due to longstanding discrimination, students and families of color have less personal, family, and intergenerational...