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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DSA Queer Socialists Conference Call

May 25, 2017
· 38 rsvps

Join DSA's Queer Socialists Working Group to discuss possible activities for the group and its proposed structure. 9 pm ET/8 pm CT/7 pm MT/6 pm PT.

 

What Is DSA? Training Call

May 30, 2017
· 48 rsvps

If you're a new DSAer, have been on a new member call, but still have questions about DSA's core values/strategy/core work and how to express these ideas in an accessible way to the media, as well as to friends, family and others who might be interested in joining DSA, this call is for you. 

We will talk through the basics of DSA's political orientation and strategy for moving toward democratic socialism, and also have call participants practice discussing these issues with each other. By the end of the call you should feel much more comfortable thinking about and expressing what DSA does and what makes our organization/strategy unique. 8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT. 70 minutes.

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 93 rsvps

Join DSA member Jason Schulman to discuss the film Rosa, directed by feminist filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. View it here at no cost before the discussion. Marxist theorist and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) played a key role in German socialist politics. Jason edited Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Legacy and has a chapter in Rosa Remix. 9 ET/8 CT/7 MT/6 PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 26 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. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

June 13, 2017
· 11 rsvps

Join Bill Barclay, Chicago DSA co-chair, and Peg Strobel, National Political Committee and Feminist Working Group co-chair, on this webinar for an overview of what we in Democratic Socialists of America mean when we talk about "socialism," "capitalism" and the goals of the socialist movement. 9:30 PM ET; 8:30 PM CT; 7:30 PM MT; 6:30 PM PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Bill Barclay, chocolatehouse@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 7 rsvps

Join DSA members Eric Brasure and Brendan Hamill to discuss the British film Pride (2014). It’s 1984, British coal miners are on strike, and a group of gays and lesbians in London bring the queer community together to support the miners in their fight. Based on the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 5 rsvps

 

Join DSA member and labor historian Susan Hirsch in discussing Union Maids (1976). Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary follows three Chicago labor organizers (Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods) active beginning in the 1930s. The filmmakers were members of the New American Movement (a precursor of DSA), and the late Vicki Starr (aka Stella Nowicki) was a longtime member of Chicago DSA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. It’s available free on YouTube, though sound quality is poor. 8ET/7CT/6MT/5PT.