This release was originally published at Generation Progress here.
Washington, D.C., October 18, 2021—Over a dozen nonprofit and advocacy organizations are coming together from October 25th-29th for a dedicated week of action in support of debt-free college. The week of action, spearheaded by Generation Progress and members of its Higher Ed, Not Debt campaign, will demand the passage of President Biden’s free community college proposal, America’s College Promise, as a crucial first step in the fight for debt-free college. The campaign will also lay out a path forward for Congress’s future steps on free college that would transform higher education. Activities during the week will include constituent meetings with U.S. Senate offices, phonebanking, a storyteller workshop for borrowers, a digital media campaign, and a rally on October 29th in Washington, D.C.
Participating organizations include: Generation Progress, 1000 Women Strong, Alliance for Youth Action, Americans for Financial Reform, Association of Young Americans, Center for Responsible Lending, The Education Trust, HBCU Collective, The Live Movement, NAACP, National Consumer Law Center, National Education Association, NoCap: Southern Vision, North Carolina Asian Americans Together, Ohio Students Association, Rise, Student Debt Crisis Center, UnidosUS, Young Invincibles, and more.
Forty-five million Americans are currently saddled with student loan debt—and Black, Brown, and low-income people are disproportionately impacted. The week of action participants will also demand that President Biden keep his campaign promise of broad-based student debt cancellation and that Congress address the cost of college to ensure that the cycle of debt does not continue.
To be most impactful, future debt-free college legislation should double the maximum Pell grant, make community college and 4-years of college at public universities free, create federal-state funding partnerships, cover the living expenses of students, address racial inequities in college affordability and invest additional federal funds on evidence-based student success strategies. The provisions of the legislation must also be made accessible to undocumented students, incarcerated students, and all who are traditionally excluded from most financial aid policy. A solution that accomplishes those goals would truly transform higher education and go a long way towards making it accessible to everyone.