The issue of student debt is central to what we stand for at APSCUF and in the statute that created the state system of higher education: we are supposed to be “affordable.”
This rally in Philadelphia, and those like it, indicates there is at least some failure on the part of the Commonwealth at following that tenet, or else there’d be no impetus for such a rally. Our students graduate with an average of about $23,000 of debt. Given that most of our students are first generation college students from working and middle class families, that’s a large load to put on someone leaving college. Since our largest number of graduates are teachers, we know that $23,000 in debt on a starting teacher’s pay, especially in middle Pennsylvania, is a huge burden.
This is one of the reasons APSCUF supports the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education (CFHE). The Campaign’s first principle says (in part), “High tuition, inadequate financial aid, and burdensome levels of student debt might seem more acceptable when we focus on the advantages higher education brings to the individual, but our current approach of increasing the costs of college restricts access for individuals and dampens the broader social and economic benefits of higher education.”
High student debt and no jobs makes for an erosion of our civic culture and the benefits higher education is supposed to bring.
Please try to support P.E.A.C.E. This hits home.