Higher Ed Not Debt Campaign Addresses Rising Cost of College

By Gracie Cano, a Spring 2014 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern

Higher Ed Not Debt, a new campaign that will focus on the challenges of rising college costs and student loan debt faced by 40 million Americans, launched last Thursday at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress. The launch featured a keynote speech by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D. Mass., and remarks by Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. Weingarten is also a Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award Dinner honoree this year.

During the event, Sen. Warren outlined strategies to address relevant issues, such as creating criteria that state schools would have to meet in order to receive federal money without having to return a portion of these funds. A second proposed solution calls for the reduction of current interest rates on student loans.

Warren’s propositions were followed by some from Weingarten, who highlighted the importance of making higher education ‘a public good.’ “We cannot be a nation any longer that tells our young people, ‘College is really…important,’ while at the same time saddling them with crushing debt and slashing the investments in the higher ed programs that we said were really, really, really important,” she said.

Afterwards, a panel answered questions about current strategies being used to address access to higher education. Panelists included Tamara Draut of Demos, Nelini Stamp of Working Families, Max Espinoza of Scholarship America, and Jennifer Wang of Young Invincibles.

Click here to learn more about the Higher Ed Not Debt campaign.

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