A Generation Fed Up With College Debt Is Taking It to the Streets #MillionStudentMarch
College students across the country gathered to call for change in American education. Facing being stuck with as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars in college debt, these students are brewing a movement against tuition rates, college debt, and wages on campus. And it started with yesterday's #MillionStudentMarch.
— Tay (@LittleCavin) November 12, 2015
It's a real problem. We all know college is super expensive and it's getting costlier. Life isn't all that great with college debt - there's even actual proof of depression and health issues due to it.
Basically, student debt is crushing millennials and alarming Generation Z.
Could yesterday's #MillionStudentMarch change things on money in American colleges?
Here are their demands
The #MillionStudentMarch is serious about this.
— LANDO???SWAVEY (@LandoSoReal) November 13, 2015
They have 3 demands:
Students at many college campuses potentially over 100--showed up in strength.
— Nick Bogel-Burroughs (@NickAtNews) November 12, 2015
— Nick Bogel-Burroughs (@NickAtNews) November 12, 2015
— Rachel Lang (@RachelILang) November 12, 2015
— Libby Chidlow (@LibbyChidlow) November 12, 2015
— Beà (@BeatriceAGenco) November 12, 2015
Let's take a quick look at their demands and how realistic they really are.
1. Free public college
They want free public college in America. Who doesn't like free?
If we could bail out Wall Street, we can make sure every American has access to public colleges regardless of income. #MillionStudentMarch
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 12, 2015
- It'd make public college truly "public."
- It could be possible without costing taxpayers.
- A couple of states have already pulled it off -- New York is doing it, and California did it for a while.
- President Obama is on board - he's already proposed tuition-free community college.
- Some say "you get what you pay for." In other words, that free tuition would get you a crappy education.
- Free education may not prepare people best for work.
- Presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders are calling for free public college -- but through higher taxes.
- Obama's plan for free community college alone is expensive.
- And you have to get good grades to qualify for free college under Obama's plan.
Many #MillionStudentMarch supporters say free education is a right. Not everyone agrees.
Students! Do you realize that free education isn't a right? Things don't become rights, just because you like them. #MillionStudentMarch
— Marek Bercik (@MarekBercik) November 13, 2015
— James Erickson (@SayHiJames) November 12, 2015
And many are saying this idea is expensive and unrealistic. This march organizer had a pretty hard time explaining how free tuition could be financed with higher taxes on the wealthy:
2. Student debt cancelation
It's undeniable: College debt has hit an astronomical and historical high.
— Daily Nexus (@dailynexus) November 12, 2015
Students want to cancel it all -- and some are just refusing to pay back their loans. Student debt is the top millennial money issue.
— Jeremiah Smith (@jbspharmd) November 12, 2015
Student loan forgiveness https://t.co/UVMJopgRoG
— Marquis de Lafayette (@brittneythebee) November 13, 2015
- It's delaying life investments like marriage, preparing for retirement, getting a car, and buying a car. Basically, life.
- Total college debt today has reached $1.2 trillion.
- The Class of 2015 holds the most student debt to date, 71% took out loans for college.
- Forgiving student loan debt could stimulate the economy because it would enable debt-ridden millennials to use their money to buy things instead of repaying loans.
- Some students are already eligible to apply for college debt forgiveness.
- But it's difficult and selective.
- Forgiving debt could screw up the loan industry and therefore the economy.
- Some say other things should be changed, like the nature of the workforce, instead.
- Some say it's an ethics thing: You took out a loan, it's your responsibility to repay it.
3. $15 minimum wage for campus workers
— Jenny Yang (@jennyyangtv) November 12, 2015
We are saddling ourselves with debt, while our campus workers/professors are barely paid enough to survive. Why? #MillionStudentMarch
— NJ United Students (@NJStudents) November 12, 2015
Students are banding with the #FightFor15 minimum wage movement and calling for a raise in wages on campus.
- It could hurt universities and companies that serve college campuses.
- Some say, just get a better job or work harder.
#MillionStudentMarch You want raises for all campus workers, but you don't want to pay tuition? Do they not teach Econ 101 at your schools?
— edbres1 (@edbres1) November 13, 2015
What do you think? Are you fed up and supporting these demands? Or are #MillionStudentMarch's demands unrealistic?
It's yet to be seen if these actions will actually bring about change -- this is one of the largest student fights against college costs in recent history. It could be the start of a larger movement, or it could fizzle out. Stay tuned.
Patrick deHahn is a freelance international news reporter, having contributed to The Atlantic online and Mic. He's worked at CNNMoney, the New York Daily News, and Voice of America. Patrick loves tweeting, reading, and grabbing coffee in either New York or Washington D.C. Tweet anything on politics or world conflict to him! Follow: @patrickdehahn.