Are we satisfied with the path we’re on -- declining wages, disappearing jobs, and millions of people saddled with debts for educations that will never be worth the outrageous prices charged to obtain them?
Staten Island, NY (PRWEB) April 11, 2013
Student Debt Crisis is proud to announce that its petition in support of H.R. 1330, The Student Loan Fairness Act, introduced in the House of Representatives last month by Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), is about to reach 200,000 signatures, less than 3 weeks since its launch. The bill, which is a combination of former Rep. Hansen Clarke’s “Student Loan Forgiveness Act” and Rep. Bass’s own Graduate Success Act, both from the 112th Congress, aims to create a reasonable, fair and manageable repayment plan for borrowers of student loans, called the “10-10 plan.”
Under the terms of the bill, borrowers who enroll in the program would be required to make 10 years of payments at 10% of their discretionary income, after which, the remaining amount would be forgiven. The program differs from existing Income Based Repayment programs in a number of respects, particularly with regard to eligibility. “Those who are in delinquency or default - arguably the people who need the help the most - are not barred from enrolling in this program the way they are for current repayment programs,” said Natalia Abrams, Director of Operations for Student Debt Crisis, a non-profit advocacy group that supports fundamental reforms to the student lending system.
Artistic Director, Aaron Calafato, added “It makes no sense to lend a helping hand, only to bar those who are in the worst financial predicaments because of their student debt, from taking advantage of the program. But that’s precisely what we do with current repayment programs.”
“We are extremely grateful to Rep. Bass, Rep. Federica Wilson [D-FL] and the forty other co-sponsors of H.R. 1330 for having the courage to re-introduce the concepts of fairness and forgiveness into the debate over student loans,” said Director of Communications, Kyle McCarthy
Executive Director, Robert Applebaum, has been working on student debt issues for several years, ever since he authored an essay that went viral in early 2009, called “Forgive Student Loan Debt to Stimulate the Economy.” As a part-time, temporary Legislative Assistant to former Rep. Hansen Clarke, he helped craft what was initially introduced in the House last year as H.R. 4170, The Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012. His petition in support of that legislation reached over 1.18 million signatures, making it one of the most successful petitions in the history of SignOn.org. He presented the petition with over a million signatures to Congress at a press conference on June 28, 2012 but, ultimately, the bill failed to gain traction in the Republican-controlled House and died an untimely death at the end of the 112th Congress.
Applebaum said “we’re under no illusions that this is going to be an easy sell, but we strongly believe that this bill is an important part of the conversation that needs to be had about what kind of country we really want to be. Do we truly value education as a public good and an investment in our collective future, as every platitude-spouting politician likes to say? Are we going to put our money where our mouths are? Or do we want to continue our downward spiral as a nation with regard to education and opportunities for the middle class? Are we satisfied with the path we’re on -- declining wages, disappearing jobs, and millions of people saddled with debts for educations that will never be worth the outrageous prices charged to obtain them? Are we happy with consigning our fellow citizens to a lifetime of indentured servitude because they fell for the national salespitch on a product that is not only grossly inflated, but being marketed as a helping hand out of poverty when, in fact, it’s proving to be a mockery to the very concept of the American Dream?”
Student Debt Crisis is a non-profit, 501 (c)(4) organization dedicated to fundamental reforms to the way in which higher education is paid for in America. At the core of its mission is an ironclad conviction that higher education should be a right, not a privilege reserved only for the rich or those willing to bury themselves under massive amounts of student loan debt. A well-educated citizenry is a national security issue, as well as a certain pathway to economic growth. Student Debt Crisis is committed to chipping away at the status quo through a series of initiatives, including legislation such as H.R. 1330, The Student Loan Fairness Act, introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA). SDC also champions a number of much-needed reforms to the student lending system, including the restoration of basic consumer protections, such as bankruptcy protections, that have been curiously stripped away from student loans.
Background: Student Debt Crisis was formed in 2012 when Robert Applebaum, an attorney from Staten Island, NY and founder of the grassroots movement “Forgive Student Loan Debt to Stimulate the Economy” joined forces with Backbone Campaign Fellows, Kyle McCarthy and Natalia Abrams, as well as Artistic Director, Aaron Calafato. McCarthy had been the Director of Outreach for the film “Default: The Student Loan Documentary” in which Applebaum appeared, and Natalia Abrams was previously the media spokesperson of “Occupy Colleges,” where she organized a teach-in at over 50 college campuses and mobilized more than 10,000 students to rally against tuition hikes. Calafato is the writer and sole-performer in the one-man play “For Profit,” about his exploits as an admission counselor at a for-profit university. Prior to founding Student Debt Crisis, all four co-founders worked as activists to bring attention to the perils and pitfalls of over $1 Trillion of outstanding student loan debt in America. All four have spoken countless times about the issue of student debt on national television and in national and international publications.