Driving Change in Higher Education.

“I am Not a Loan” campaign shows students that they aren’t alone in debt

By Michael Flannery

2012-13 MSCSA Public Relations Coordinator

Before I begin on the topic of this article I just want to say what a pleasure it has been being the Editor in Chief of this newspaper this year, and it has been an honor and privilege serving the students of Minnesota. It’s sad to say that this is my last article, but I know the MSCSA will continue to do great things in the pursuit of quality higher education and pave the way for making it affordable and accessible to all. Before I begin I just want to say, “Hi, mom!” And to anyone else who actually reads this article or this newspaper, thank you for staying informed with the always awesome Students’ View! 

The Education Trust (www.edtrust.org) is a national non-profit, non-partisan organization that fights for students at all levels to have access to a high-quality education. Recently they have released a proposal called “Doing Away With Debt” and have started the “I AM NOT A LOAN” Campaign, which sounds like “I am not alone” and I can assure you this pun is intended as 37 million Americans are currently saddled with student loan debt so those who are affected are certainly not alone. This campaign brings students to the awareness that they are not alone nor are they simply another student “loan” story. 

I myself currently stand at $55,750 in student loan debt and I am still one year away from graduation with a Bachelor’s degree, the thought of being able to pay this amount of debt off upon graduation is truly scary. If people are paying attention they realize that more and more students are being affected by this tremendous debt, just like me. This amount of debt can affect graduates’ ability to buy a car or home, to start a family, and because of this have drastic effects on the state and country’s economy. 

Americans owe more than $1 trillion in student loans, and hardworking students just like me are being priced out of higher education wondering if the debt is ultimately worth the degree. The “I AM NOT A LOAN” campaign empowers students to speak out about skyrocketing student loan debt and works to make sure that no one is shut out of higher education because of cost. 

The campaign is calling on colleges and universities across the country to take action in support of the students they enroll by signing a pledge to reduce student debt. This pledge first of all admits that there’s a problem:

The pledge: “No one should be shut out of college because of cost. We pledge to take action to reduce student debt.”

By signing I AM NOT A LOAN’s pledge, colleges and universities acknowledge that costs have grown unsustainably. No two institutions are identical, and not every solution will look the same. But every institution of higher education needs to be doing something to ease the burden of student debt. 

Moving forward, I AM NOT A LOAN’s goal is to make sure that every student who wants to go to college has that opportunity. 

I AM NOT A LOAN campaign is backed by an array of national organizations and student-run groups. Each partner shares a common goal: to help raise student voices to demand a resolution to our nation’s student debt crisis. The campaign pledges to not give up until all students can go to college without taking on this crushing student debt that students are currently taking on. For more information or to become involved visit: www.iamnotaloan.org

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