2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

A solution to crushing college student debt?

Published: March 6, 2014, 9:43 am, by Carol McGraw

There  may be hope for college  students who rack up tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.

A  campaign  “Higher Ed, not Debt’  plans to  mobilize students, parents, borrowers, and others to  find  solutions to the  problem. They plan to  lobby policymakers and lenders to help  everyone to get higher education without the f financial hardship, according to an email announcement.

The campaign  “will provide support to current borrowers struggling with  debt, address the causes of declining affordability and quality, highlight Wall Street’s role in the privatization of higher education, and demand action on the issue of higher education debt across the country, ” officials said.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) , said at the campaign launch,  “Student loan debt is crushing our college students and dragging down our economy.Student debt is  a staggering $1.2 trillion, while the federal government continues to rake in billions in profits off the student loan program. Our country should be investing in young people, not putting an additional burden on those trying to get an education.”

She a dded that there is a need to help students that have loans now, to be able to refinance them at the new  lower interest rates.

The campaign includes more than 60 national and state-based organizations and brings together leading experts from youth, policy, labor, and grassroots organizations, including the American Federation of Teachers, Demos, Generation Progress, the National Education Association, Scholarship America, the Student Veterans of America, Jobs with Justice, Student Debt Crisis, and the Working Families Organization.

The announcement noted that nearly 40 million students have had to  get  loans, and  two-thirds of graduates now have more than  $29,000 in debt. The current student debt is more than  $1 trillion and  will  surpass $2 trillion by 2025 . The default rate for federal loans is about  15 percent.

“Higher education should be about expanding opportunity for the next generation, not a way for Wall Street and for-profit colleges to enrich themselves,” stated  American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.  “We can no longer be a nation that tells our young people college is really important, while at the same time saddling them with crushing debt and slashing investments in the programs and supports that could enable them to achieve their dreams.”

For more information visit  http://higherednotdebt.org/partners/