Student debt

The email below is from Jeff Bryant, a CREDO activist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Jeff started a petition on CREDO Mobilize, where activists can launch their own campaigns for progressive change. Will you help Jeff pressure President Obama and congressional leaders to create a plan to make public college tuition-free by signing his petition and sharing it with your friends and family?

CREDO Mobilize
Tell President Obama and congressional leaders: Make public college education tuition-free.

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Dear 5849376,

Making public college tuition-free would only cost our country $62.6 billion, according to a recent accounting taken by the U.S. Dept. of Education. That's less than one-10th of this year's $631 billion defense budget.

The level of college student loan debt exceeds the amount Americans owe on their credit cards –- over a trillion dollars -- and the cost of higher education keeps getting higher. That's why I started my own campaign on, which allows activists to start their own petitions. My petition, which is to President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker John Boehner, says the following:

Create a plan to make public college tuition-free. Rather than continuing to pour billions more into financial aid programs that often fall short of tuition costs and leave students deep in debt, lead an effort to fund tuition-free public college. The money is there but the leadership isn't.

Tell President Obama and congressional leaders to make public college tuition-free.

As a resident of one of America's college towns, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I constantly meet young people incurring huge amounts of debt to attend college. College graduates who borrowed money to pay for bachelor's degrees granted in 2012 have an average student loan debt of $29,400, the highest average student loan debt ever on record. Seventy percent of college seniors graduated with debt in 2012.

Students who don't graduate often have it worse. Only 56 percent of students who enter four-year programs graduate within six years, leaving many with massive debt and without a degree. The percentage of graduates plunges to 22 percent when it comes to for-profit colleges. Meanwhile, the percentage of incoming students relying on loans is growing – from 47 percent in 2001 to 53 percent in 2009.

Making public colleges tuition-free and preventing further debt isn't just a smart investment in our future -- it's less expensive than what our federal government spends to make college "affordable" now. It's a lot cheaper than the $69 billion we spent in 2013 on Pell Grants for low-income students, and work-study funding, without even including federal loan subsidies.

If we can afford to pour billions into wasteful defense programs and endless wars without hesitation, and subsidize big oil, big agriculture, and other corporate enterprises, we can afford to make public college education tuition-free. The time is now to demand that President Obama and congressional leaders make it happen.

If you sign my petition and demand a plan to make public college education truly affordable by making these schools tuition-free, it will help us build public pressure on national leaders to take action.

Will you join me and add your name to my petition to President Obama and congressional leaders to demand they create a plan to make public college education tuition-free?

Thank you for your support.

Jeff Bryant

Sign the petition ►

CREDO Mobilize helps activists like you make progressive change and fight regressive policies by creating online petitions. Click here to start a petition today.

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