Students, faculty host demonstration to oppose student loan debt
Students and faculty at Central Michigan University showed opposition against rising student loan debt on campus Thursday.
The demonstration took place outside the main entrance of the Bovee University Center against a scheduled rise in interest rates on federally subsidized student loans. On July 1, the rate is set to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, according to CNN.
“This isn’t just inflation. This isn’t just higher cost of living,” said demonstration organizer Andy Blom, a philosophy and religion faculty member. “This is a result of the decisions made by public officials at the state and federal level and also the effect on university administrators who continue to let budgets grow because they know it’s funded by debt.”
Blom said he invited students in his classes to join the demonstration, wearing white shirts with their personal student debt written on them.
The debt written on Blom’s shirt was just under $30,000.
“I’ve encouraged students to come down and show their student debt and raise awareness,” Blom said.
Some demonstrators also stood near Preston Street to catch the attention of people driving by. Some honked.
Blom also organized the 99 percent Central movement, as part of a national opposition against the 1 percent of people in the U.S. who hold much of the nation’s wealth. A flyer he distributed said students begin paying student debt after graduating, and monthly payments average to about $338 a month for the first 10 years.
Blom said the national student debt is about to reach $1 trillion.
“It could be the next debt bubble that could drive the economy further into recession,” Blom said. “It affects the overall economy. There’s all this money not being spent in the economy because it’s being paid back to student loan debt.”
Blom said the issue has been on his mind for a long time.
“Personally, I’ve been concerned about rising student debt for many years,” Blom said. “I didn’t need to carry as much debt when I was going through undergrad.”
Allie Young, a senior from Utica, was one of the students in Blom’s class invited and encouraged to join the demonstration. She said students now might not realize how student loan debt will affect their lives.
“I don’t think (students) realize our lives are going to be on hold because we won’t be able to afford starting a family and having a house and a car,” Young said. “They won’t be able to get married and have a house because they’ll be paying student loans.”
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