This nation’s out of control college debt problem is becoming a barrier to the American Dream. Student loan debt exceeds $1.2 trillion; seven out of ten 2013 college graduates graduated with an average debt of $29,400 each. This debt disproportionately affects the poor, further restricting their opportunities to pursue college and careers. It doesn’t have to be that way.
We invite you to join CTA in NEA’s Degrees Not Debt Week of Action, a nationwide effort to raise awareness about this serious problem and focus on solutions. CTA has consolidated and linked to many of NEA’s resources on our Degrees Not Debt page. Here you will find useful materials like this Degrees Not Debt brochure and Student Debt Relief Resources.
CTA and NEA back several proposed solutions to this crisis, including:
- Enhancing federal loan forgiveness programs for those who choose careers in public service, expanding them to include faculty and staff at all levels at colleges and universities.
- Increasing need-based financial assistance, like Pell Grants, which currently cover less than a third of the cost of attending a four-year university, especially for minority-serving institutions.
- Making student loans more affordable by allowing refinancing options when interest rates decline, instead of balancing budgets on the backs of students.
- Restoring federal subsidized loans for graduate students.
- Reinvesting state funds in higher education. As of May 2014, 48 states are still spending less on higher ed than they did before the recession.
- Promoting and educating those who aspire to be educators to take advantage of TEACH grants.
You can be part of the solution by your participation this week and beyond. Things you can do include:
- Add your name to the Degrees Not Debt Pledge and sign up for ongoing information and updates.
- Use these NEA resources for Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to promote the Degrees Not Debt Week of Action.
- Share Degrees Not Debt posts directly from CTA’s Facebook page, or post one of these images to your own page this week:
· The average college grad owes $30,000 in student loans.
· College Affordability Solutions
· Got student loan debt? You are not alone.
· 5 steps to kick student debt
- Take to Twitter with these sample tweets:
· Every American deserves a fair shot at higher education. It’s time to take action and reduce student debt. #DegreesNotDebt
· College is increasingly unattainable for students, and existing student debt exceeds $1.2 trillion. #DegreesNotDebt
· 7 of 10 college grads owe an avg $30K in loans. Student debt is no longer just a burden – it’s a barrier to American Dream #DegreesNotDebt
· Raise your voice for college affordability! Take the #DegreesNotDebt pledge! nea.org/degreesnotdebt
· RT if you think college should be more affordable and accessible to all. #DegreesNotDebt
- Join NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia and Senator Elizabeth Warren for a tele-town hall at 4:00 p.m. today, November 12, where they will talk with members about how to help efforts to get Congress to pass legislation addressing this critical issue. Additional information will be forthcoming.
- Sponsor or join a campus or community-based event discussing this important issue.
This is an issue that affects our students at all levels and beyond. Please join your colleagues in this important effort to find solutions.