Drop Student Debt Campaign

Student loan debt buries 37 million people in the United States and now exceeds $1 trillion. On average, students borrow $26,000 to pay for an education which is either free or of minimal cost in most advanced countries.  

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Higher education is increasingly treated as an individual commodity, rather than a public good or an investment in our collective future. As a result, millions are putting off major purchases and life decisions – especially graduates of color, who have disproportionately higher debt. This is NOT only a "young person's problem." Most of the student loan debt is owed by people older than 30.

This crisis has a crushing ripple effect on our economy: students and recent graduates are forced into low-wage jobs in order to immediately start making payments back to banks and lenders; instead of stimulating the economy by spending millions of dollars, many are pinching pennies to just try to keep up with the interest on their loans.

Meanwhile, total public and private tuition costs are $170 billion per year – one fifth of what we spend on the military per year. We can afford to do better.

Campaign Goals

1)      Build a movement capable of winning free higher education for all in the long term, by organizing debt holders.

2)      Demand a short term reform which would throw a lifeline to 37 million student debt holders. Specifically, we want President Obama to use an executive order to dramatically expand the Income Based Repayment Program (a program he himself created via executive order).

The current Income Based Repayment Plan allows some students to pay 10% of their discretionary income for 20 years and have the rest of their loans forgiven. Our goal is to:

  • allow all student loans to be repaid at an annual rate of 10% of discretionary income and be forgiven after 10 years;
  • expand the program to cover all student loans, public and private.

Get Involved

Upload your student debt story to our Drop Student Debt Tumblr.

Sign our online petition.

Begin organizing people in your community by collecting petition signatures face to face and talking to them about the student debt crisis. Download a copy of the petition here.

Learn more about the campaign and ways to get more involved by calling in to one of our Campaign Briefing conference calls. RSVP here.

Resources

Paper copy of petition

Student Debt FAQ flyer

Age is No Barrier to Student Debt flyer

The Real Cause of Student Debt flyer

Education is a Right flyer

Additional information about the existing Income Based Repayment Program

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Film Discussion: The Price We Pay

January 30, 2017
· 44 rsvps
The Price We Pay blows the lid off the dirty world of corporate malfeasance — the dark history and dire present-day reality of big-business tax avoidance, tax havens - and what we need to do to stop this.  DSA member Bill Barclay, who has a cameo role in the film, will facilitate the discussion. Watch the film prior to the discussion.

Full film available on Vimeo.

How to Plug in New Members

February 01, 2017
· 12 rsvps

Is your DSA chapter growing quickly and you're trying desperately to find ways to plug new members into your chapter's work? Never fear! On this conference call an experienced DSA organizer will go over the basics of new member outreach and developing a plan for plugging new members into your chapter's work. Most of the call will be devoted to troubleshooting specific issues you're facing, so please brainstorm some issues beforehand that you want to bring up on the call.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 7 PM PT.

Film Discussion: Salt of the Earth

February 05, 2017
· 9 rsvps

Join DSA members Shelby Murphy and Deborah Rosenfelt in discussing Salt of the Earth, a captivating film made in 1954 by blacklisted writers and actors about a strike at a New Mexico zinc mine. Well before the resurgence of feminism in the 1960s, these filmmakers were exploring gender inequality and solidarity. Available on Netflix.

Shelby Murphy is a Latina from Texas and former Young Democratic Socialists co-chair. Professor Emerita of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, Deborah Rosenfelt researched the making of the film and its aftermath for the reissued screenplay. Here is her blogpost about the film.

 

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 3 rsvps

Join DSA members Glenn Scott and Richard Croxdale to discuss videos produced by People’s History in Texas (PHIT), a project that brings to life the stories of ordinary people in significant socio-political movements in Texas. They will discuss The Rag, their newest documentary, which tells the story of an influential underground paper based in Austin, Texas, from 1966-77. Click here to view Part I (the early years as an all-volunteer paper covering the student, anti-Vietnam and Civil Rights movements), Part II (the impact of Women’s Liberation on the paper) and Part III (building community: covering local politics, nukes, co-ops, feminist institutions). But check out their short the video on the Stand-Ins about a group of university students who led a movement to desegregate Austin’s movie theaters in 1961.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 2 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion.