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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What Is DSA? Training Call

March 07, 2017
· 59 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.

Feminist Working Group

March 07, 2017
· 35 rsvps

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's and LGBTQ issues, especially in light of the new political reality that we face after the elections.  9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.

LGBT Activism: A Brief History with Thoughts about the Future

April 01, 2017
· 15 rsvps

Historian John D'Emilio's presentation will do 3 things: Provide a brief explanation of how sexual and gender identities have emerged; provide an overview of the progression of LGBT activism since its origins in the 1950s, highlighting key moments of change; and, finally, suggest what issues, from a democratic socialist perspective, deserve prioritizing now. John co-authored Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, which was quoted by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that ruled state sodomy laws unconstitutional. 1 pm ET; 12 pm CT; 11 am MT; 10 am 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 Peg Strobel, peg.strobel@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 22 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 also check out the video on the Stand-Ins about a group of university students who led a movement to desegregate Austin’s movie theaters in 1961. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 37 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.