Groups protest student loan practices; Says US has $1 trillion in student debt

Protesters outside the Cesar E. Chavez building in Denver.

Protesters outside the Cesar E. Chavez building in Denver.

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DENVER -- Protesters gathered at the Colorado state Capitol on Friday to protest the United States’ looming student debt crisis.

The Colorado Student Power Alliance and other groups are working to call attention to America’s $1 trillion student educational debt, the highest in the world. Students were expected to share their stories about how educational debt has negatively impacted their lives and, in many cases, their families’ lives.

Just this week, news broke that many lenders initiate “auto-defaults,” where they immediately place students in default if a parent who co-signed their loan dies or goes bankrupt.

The country’s student debt outpaces all other loans except for mortgages.
Graduate school debt is playing a key and often overlooked role in the ballooning of overall student loan debt, new research suggests.

Students who went to university for a graduate degree borrowed $57,600 in 2012, a 43% increase from $40,209 in 2004, according to new research released Tuesday by the New America Foundation.

"The jump in graduate school borrowing is bigger than I thought it was going to be," said the report's author Jason Delisle, director of the Federal Education Budget Project.

The Denver protesters said in a media release that they want four key changes to the current student loan process:

  1. A mandatory increase in Pell Grants, which serve low-income students.
  2. Full disclosure of banking products used by colleges and universities;
  3. That all students be informed about federal repayment loan opportunities, including the Income-Based Repayment and Pay-As-You-Earn programs.
  4. That the regional Department of Education refuse to resign contracts with Sallie Mae, one of the largest lenders in the nation that turns a profit from student debt.


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