Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks at the launch of the Higher Ed Not Debt Campaign
The Higher Ed, Not Debt campaign formally launched on March 6, 2014 with a public event at the Center for American Progress. Senator Elizabeth Warren and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President, Randi Weingarten addressed a crowd of over one hundred students, borrowers, policy advocates, academics, activists and labor union organizers.
The campaign includes over 60 national and state-based organizations including the American Federation of Teachers, Demos, Generation Progress, Jobs with Justice, the National Education Association, Scholarship America, the Student Veterans of America, Student Debt Crisis, and the Working Families Organization.
At the event, Senator Warren discussed the importance of affordable higher education, as well as the solution of refinancing student loans as a means to attain affordability. “Student loan debt is crushing our college students and dragging down our economy,” said Senator Warren. “We need to work together to bring down the rising cost of college, and we need to help existing borrowers deal with their debt by allowing them to refinance their student loans at today’s lower interest rates.”
AFT President Randi Weingarten spoke about higher education as a means for advancement for our nation’s young people, “Higher education should be about expanding opportunity for the next generation, not a way for Wall Street and for-profit colleges to enrich themselves. We can no longer be a nation that tells our young people college is really important, while at the same time saddling them with crushing debt and slashing investments in the programs and supports that could enable them to achieve their dreams.”
The event ended with a panel on local and state organizing opportunities around student debt. Panelists included Jen Wang (Young Invincibles), Max Espinoza (Scholarship America), and Tamara Draut (Demos). The panel was moderated by Sarah Audelo from Generation Progress.