The Student Campaign in Events and Pictures
Previous to the huge and historic passage of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 in September 2007, students were hard at work to make college afffordable.
First, students targeted the US Department of Education. Then, supportive members in the House of Representatives responded to our two year grassroots effort by passing legislation that cut student loan interest rates in half! The measure, sponsored by Congressman George Miller, D – CA (above), passed on January 18th, 2007, by an overwhelming margin of 356 to 71. View our photo gallery below.
USPIRG and a variety of state student associations released a report on January 5, 2007 that detailed the savings that students will see with an interest rate cut to their loans. The report, released in 30 locations, garnered significant news coverage across the country.
On January 11th, PIRG student leaders from across the country participated in College Affordability Day in Congress through which many Senators and Representatives expressed their support for reforming higher education funding. On January 18th, New Jersey PIRG leader Sarah Clader, pictured here, a junior at Rutgers College, stood with congressional leaders to laud the passage of the rate cut. Throughout the spring, students on campus across the country spoke to their members of Congress and other state and local higher education officials, urging them to support our platform and distributing locally produced student debt yearbooks as an educational tool that demonstrated the breadth and depth of the problem to decision makers at the local, statewide, and federal levels. Arizona State University and the Arizona PIRG student chapters hosted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congressman Harry Mitchell on February 20th for a forum on college affordability.
After January’s victory in the House, a variety of legislation was introduced, all of which touched on helpful policies including increased financial aid, protected student borrowers from predatory practices, and making student loans more manageable. On March 13, PIRG leaders stood with Senators Kennedy, D- MA, and Smith, R- OR, and Congressmen Miller, D – CA, and Petri, R – WI, to introduce the STAR Act, which freed up additional funds for better student loans and more grants.
Senator Ted Kennedy, D – MA, continued to lead the charge in the Senate to lower interest rates, increase grant aid, and establish protections for borrowers. Students spoke to their members of Congress, asked higher education leaders in their state to sign on to our platform, distributing their student debt yearbooks and generally sounding the alarm. Students were in attendance at the June 13 introduction of the House’s final legislation, the College Cost Reduction Act and again were in attendance at the June 20 introduction of the Senate’s legislation, the College Access Act. Additionally, they rallied when the Senate passed the bill on July 20. And throughout the Spring, students continued the steady dialogue about student loan debt and college affordability issues with a multitude of public officials at the campus, statewide, and federal level.
College Affordability Kick Off Event in DC
Student leaders from the PIRGs, USSA, Campus Progress and the National Education Association converged on the Capitol on January 11 to call on the House of Representatives to cut the interest rate on student loans. House Education Chair George Miller sponsored the legislation.
Press Conference to Celebrate Interest Rate Cut in DC
NJPIRG chair Sarah Clader, a student at Rutgers, lauded the House of Representatives moments after passage of HR 5, the College Debt Relief Act, which cut interest rates on student loans in half. Clader was joined by Representatives Miller, Wasserman-Shultz, Grijalva, and Courtney.
Releasing the Interest Rate Cut report
Across the nation, the PIRGs released our report to tally the thousands in savings that a lower interest rate on student loans will deliver. Here are events in Kansas and Ohio.
Students and Congressional Leaders re-introduce bipartisan bill to increase aid
House leaders George Miller (D-CA), and Tom Petri (R-WI), stood with Senate leaders Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) and with student leaders from those states to re-introduce the STAR Act, which increases aid for students by promoting efficiency within the student loan programs.
Arizona College Affordability Event with Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed an overflow crowd at Arizona State University in Tempe on February 20. Read the release here. Together with Representatives Mitchell, Grijalva, Pastor, and Lee, she made a commitment to support efforts to make college accessible and lower student debt.
Speaker Pelosi addresses the crowd
Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Lee
Representatives Mitchell and Pastor
Speaker Pelosi and Students
Massachusetts Board of Higher Education Chancellor, Patricia Plummer.