“We should be encouraging students. Instead, student loan debt hurts opportunity.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA),
On January 28th, NCLC’s close partner organization, Young Invincibles, launched its Campaign to Fix Higher Ed with an inaugural National Student Debt Day. The event brought together 75 student debt activists in Washington, D.C., for a day of training, discussions, and advocacy.
Senator Elizabeth Warren headlined the event, giving a passionate keynote. She spoke about the most recent class of graduates, who just entered repayment on their federal loans: “The small group of people that started repayment in the past year… the Department of Education estimates that this group will pay $650 million in interest… Think about what $650 million could mean in the pockets of young people.”
Senator Warren defined the fight facing young people in the years ahead. “We have a choice,” she said. “We can whine and complain about this, or we can fight back. And I’m here to fight back.”
Marvin Logan, former student body president at Kent State University (2014-15), was in attendance. We caught up with Logan after Senator Warren’s speech to get his reaction.
It’s great that this is a top, valid issue that the Democrats are fighting for, and I would like to see more action on the Republican side, because I think this is a bipartisan issue. College students come from all backgrounds and all walks of life. The fact is that over $1 trillion of student debt is holding graduates and our economy back—if they can’t pay that money back, it affects us on the other end as well.
I’m really excited to find creative ways that we can move federally and at the state level to not only make college more affordable, but to get the states to reinvest in education, and from my perspective, as a former SGA president and African American Studies scholar, is how this affects students of color. One of the statistics we heard today is that African American student borrowers have to get at least 2 levels higher in education to compete with their counterparts as far as the pay rate is concerned, and that has a huge effect on how they can pay back that debt.
I’m determined to take the fight back to Ohio, to get this to our state legislature, because it is affecting us now, it’s going to affect us in the future, it’s going to affect our children. Education is a public good, not a private good; and if we are going to continue to compete at a global level, education has to be at the top of our concerns.