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

August 21, 2017
· 22 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.

 

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 41 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
· 23 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.