Letter to the Editor

SU students call attention to student debt

“Loans”, “student debt”, “tuition”–throw these words at students around campus and it’s almost guaranteed that there will be no happy faces. It wouldn’t be any surprise either — the cost of attending both two and four-year universities has gone through the roof. Of course, financial aid is a huge help. In fact, most students are able to attend Syracuse University solely based on the financial aid — but a significant portion of it is loans. According to a recent report, there are 43 million federal student loan borrowers, 7 million of them in default, and $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. While tuition costs have risen over 179% since 1995, financial aid for students has been stagnant.

For example, the Pell Grant. The Pell Grant is a program that provides aid for low and middle-income students. However, it has not kept up with the drastic rise in tuition. The program used to cover 77% of the cost to attend a four-year college. Today, that number is less than 30%. Students as a result have no choice but to stay in school longer, take out more loans, or just drop out entirely. On top of that, many students don’t know much about student loans, or even repayment options.

The Higher Education Act (1965) is a federal law that regulates our higher education system. It was created to provide better resources and opportunities in higher education for students who lacked the financial means to attend college. Since it has been implemented, the act has been regularly reviewed, updated, and reauthorized by Congress. However, while Congress has funded the program each year, they haven’t updated it since 2008. And since 2008, tuition and fees has risen 28%.

Lack of financial aid and funding for financial aid is a social justice and legislative issue that we must all take action against. Here at the SU-ESF chapter of NYPIRG, we are constantly working towards lobbying our representatives in Albany, such as our “Higher Ed Action day” in April. We are also always working on informing students, to empower them to become an active voice in the community. Student activism is an imperative aspect of NYPIRG’s mission. For more information or to get involved, contact NYPIRG at syracuse@nypirg.org or stop by the office at 732 S. Crouse.

 

Sakura Tomizawa

Writing major, philosophy minor

Class of 2017

 

Helen Tang 

Economics major

Class of 2020

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